Merkel faces party revolt over aid for Athens
Chancellor Angela Merkel's fraught negotiations over Greece's eurozone future were threatened by a growing revolt within her own conservative ranks yesterday as dozens of right-wing MPs and politicians queued in opposition to the idea of more aid for Athens.
The notion that Sunday's referendum would persuade Germany to spend more taxpayers' money on bailing out Greece was angrily dismissed by numerous renegade Christian Democrat (CDU) MPs in media interviews. "We must now end this experiment with the reform-reluctant Greeks," said Christian von Stetten, head of the CDU's small business association group in parliament. Earlier, he described Greek government representatives as "rip-off merchants" and "conmen".
Andreas Scheuer, general secretary of the Bavarian wing of Ms Merkel's conservatives, was more emphatic. "Greece has said No and as far as we are concerned that means no to negotiations and to a further aid package," he told Germany's 'Bild' newspaper.
Other leading conservatives said they agreed with the finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, who has said that the "honest and consequent approach" would be for Greece to leave the eurozone.
Ms Merkel has been at odds with her finance minister by insisting over past months that Greece should remain inside.
All this is playing with the German public - an opinion poll yesterday showed a significant 3.5pc gain for Ms Merkel's conservatives, but not for her policies.
'Der Spiegel' magazine warned yesterday that Ms Merkel would have to "reckon with rebels" if and when the issue of further Greek aid is put before parliament, as it must be under German law.