Germany is split over EU aid deal for Greece
Published 22/03/2010 | 05:00
ITALY said it was totally behind Greece yesterday while German chancellor Angela Merkel signalled greater budget discipline in Athens was the price for her supporting European Union aid to Greece, denouncing what she called "superficial" solidarity and seeking to quell speculation of a split with her finance minister on the issue.
Ms Merkel said yesterday that she had made no decision on whether to back EU aid or to seek International Monetary Fund assistance to help Greece contain Europe's biggest budget deficit.
Her comments underscore the struggle within the German government -- and among European leaders -- on how to react to the crisis. Public opposition to a bailout for Greece has escalated in Germany, the main contributor to the EU budget, before an EU summit in Brussels this week.
The German government sought to play down divisions between Ms Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, denying a report in 'Der Spiegel' magazine that the finance chief told his staff not to communicate with chancellery aides without his consent.
Ms Merkel's government said on Friday it would not rule out an IMF loan to Greece. But Mr Schaeuble's spokesman expressed "great reservation" about aid from the IMF. (Bloomberg)