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Germany stands firm on Greece

Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 01:58

The EU's chairman has joined growing international calls for Greece to be granted debt restructuring as part of any new loan deal if it averts a Grexit and delivers convincing reforms. But as Ivor Bennett reports there's still strong opposition in Germany.

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It's not exactly a billion euro bailout. But right now, Greece needs every penny it can get. Even from as an unlikely source as this. A Mediterranean restaurant in Berlin. It's been raising money for those caught up in the crisis since 2012, with Greek expats and Germans contributing. (SOUNDBITE) (German) BERLIN FORUM GRIECHENLAND HILFE MEMBER AND OWNER OF TERZO MONDO BAR KOSTAS PAPANASTASIOU, SAYING: "I was there for the election on January 25 and I saw old people sleeping under a bridge. That is bad. And many have no other choice than to jump off their balconies. I don't know whether the European economists and politicians care about that." They may well do, but goodwill to Greek politicians is in short supply Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel still refusing to budge on that crucial issue of debt relief. (SOUNDBITE) (German) GERMAN CHANCELLOR, ANGELA MERKEL, SAYING: "I have said that a classic haircut is out of the question for me and that hasn't changed between yesterday and today." A lot could change for Greece though. Alexis Tsipras has been working on a new proposal to creditors. If he can't satisfy them this time, a Grexit is surely inevitable. Simon Derrick from BNY Mellon. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SIMON DERRICK, CHIEF MARKET STRATEGIST, BNY MELLON. SAYING: "It's six months into the current crisis and it's taking up an immense amount of time both for leaders and the finance ministers. And I think there is a point of saying 'enough's enough'. Of course it's possible to extend that deadline but when patience runs out, you have to call a stop somewhere." No mercy either from Germany's Bundesbank. Its smiling head is Jens Weidmann. (SOUNDBITE) (English) HEAD OF GERMANY'S CENTRAL BANK, JENS WEIDMANN, SAYING: "Central banks - although they do have the means - have no mandate, in my view, to safeguard the solvency of banks and governments. That kind of implicit redistribution is a matter for governments or parliaments, if at all." An uncompromising stance perhaps, but one that has increasing support in the euro zone. In Greece, though, many know it means cashpoints may not be full for much longer.

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Germany stands firm on Greece

Thursday, July 09, 2015 - 01:58