Angela Merkel says Greece should never have been allowed to join the euro

German leader blames predecessor, Gerhard Schroder – and sparks anger in Athens

Athens

Greece’s former Finance Minister, who steered the country into the single currency, has chided Angela Merkel after the German Chancellor said the debt-strapped country should have never been allowed to join the euro.

“She [Angela Merkel] should be more careful in what she is saying,” Yannos Papantoniou told The Independent. “I don’t really think Ms Merkel really believes what she says – it’s part of the party games played ahead of [German] elections.”

Ms Merkel, pictured, has been on the campaign trail for weeks now as she battles to win a third term when Germany holds its general election on 22 September. Speaking to supporters in the northern German river town of Rendsburg on Tuesday, Ms Merkel criticised her predecessor, Gerhard Schröder, for admitting Athens into the single currency.

“The crisis emerged over many years, through founding errors in the euro. For example, Greece should not have been admitted into the euro area,” she said.

Mr Papantoniou, who served as Greece’s Finance Minister from 1994 until 2001 under successive socialist Pasok governments, pointed out that Germany – alongside France and Italy – was among the first eurozone member countries, to break the fiscal rules that regulate the common currency.

While Greece has often come under fire for the accuracy of its statistics, Mr Papantoniou rebuffed claims that the acceptance of Greece in the bloc was undeserved and that membership was approved on the basis of false data provided by Athens.

“Full answers have already been provided and have not been challenged,” the former minister said, attributing a numerical discrepancy to a 2004 change of accounting rules for registering defence expenditure.

As her political rivals criticise her handling of the Greek crisis, Ms Merkel’s Finance Minister Wolfang Schäuble inflamed her critics when he recently admitted that Greece would be needing another loan – albeit much smaller than the two it has already received.

Greece’s current Finance Minister, Yiannis Stournaras, calculated the cost of a potential fresh bailout at about €10bn.

The German Chancellor was quick to allay angry voters who feel the German taxpayer continues to foot the bill for Greece’s financial mistakes. According to recent polls conducted by the Forsa institute, Ms Merkel remains the most popular German political leader by some distance.

Ms Merkel’s campaigning has been focused on her successful safeguarding of the German economy while she maintained a tough stance over the euro crisis.

Experts say Ms Merkel’s recent remarks over Greece reflect her overall electoral strategy to highlight differences between her party and the centre-left political rivals that supervised the admissions of the euro members.

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive / Foreign Exchange Dealer - OTE £40,000+

£16000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Foreign Exchange Dealer is re...

SThree: Experienced Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £40000 per annum + OTE + Incentives + Benefits: SThree: Established f...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + OTE 40/45k + INCENTIVES + BENEFITS: SThree: The su...

Recruitment Genius: Collections Agent

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company was established in...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea