German Economic Minister Rainer Brüderle told Der Spiegel that the rescue package for Greece will almost certainly amount to €135 billion over three years, adding, “I can’t rule out the possibility that the amount will be higher.”
In the Daily Telegraph, Edmund Conway suggested that Greek needs of around €100bn over the next few years can only be 20% met by the IMF. The Slog’s enquiries suggest a similar limit. This now really is when push comes to shove.
The Telegraph quotes Hans-Werner Sinn’s observation that Greece is likely to “ask for Germany to waive the debt.” Asked if he believed taxpayers might get their money back, he said, “To tell you the truth, no.” This is probably why – despite a concerted attempt to win the German electorate round over the last week – the latest survey still shows 65% of them ‘implacably opposed’ to the Greek bailout, with just one in seven Germans in favour of it. Confidence in the Euro now stands at a mere 34%.
Responding to this national mood, Angela Merkel said last night that it has been a mistake to admit Greece to the Eurozone. She would only commit to the bailout if Greece undertook further austerity measures. But Andreas Loverdos, Greece’s labour minister, said the Athens government “cannot accept” EU-IMF demands for further wages cuts. So it’s a Mexican stand-off.
However, Athens is in no position to be intransigent. Marketing Greek bonds at the moment is like selling premium gefillte fish in Teheran – and as revealed here last week, world’s biggest sovereign lender PIMCO now rates Greek debt at a level slightly more radioactive than a Chernobyl isotope.
Nick Clegg, meanwhile, is unique among the Prime Ministerial candidate in being as keen as ever to join a currency that is clearly imploding. Poor Nick: his main pension is in that currency,so he has no choice but to talk it up.