Germany’s ruling coalition appears to be deeply split over Greece’s latest reform proposals ahead of a climactic meeting of EU leaders at the weekend.
While senior Social Democrats (SPD) – the junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government – welcomed the list of concessions from the Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras members of her own conservative bloc were scathing about Greece’s position.
As financial experts digested the plan from Athens the joint chief executive of Berlin’s stock exchange Artur Fischer said that business leaders in Germany felt Greece had squandered its credibility and that if Merkel agreed to a third bailout for Greece she could also be signing up to the continuation of the crisis for years to come – thereby risking her chancellorship.
‘This is the toughest time in her chancellorship so far. Can she resist the voices of opposition within her own party to push through a third bailout in the Bundestag that most of them are against?’ said Fischer.
‘She is facing huge internal difficulties that have the potential to end her chancellorship. The trouble is if we trust Greece again and go for a bailout Merkel could find herself back in the same position again in six months’ time and again a year’s time from now – and that would be extremely bad for her’.
The decision to either push for a third bailout – a course that would set her against many within her own party – or let Greece leave the eurozone – which could greatly damage Europe’s image as well as her own legacy – will be Merkel’s biggest challenge.