Germany’s pivotal role in a bailout for Greece was emphasised with a visit to Berlin by the head of the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.
Germany’s participation in a rescue, though crucial, is by no means guaranteed, with public opinion and domestic elections weighing heavy on the decision makers.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “As we see in the euro area right now, the admission of Greece in 2000 was not based on sustainable factors. And this is what we realize right now in this difficult crisis.”
Dominique Strauss-Kahn from the IMF and Jean-Claude Trichet from the ECB met German MPs as part of their attempt win approval for Greek aid.
One opposition member said they had been told the total bailout package would cost up to 120-billion euros over three years.
Strauss-Kahn refused to comment on specific numbers, but stressed the need for swift action.
He said: “The faster, the better. And every day that is lost is a day where the situation is going worse and worse, not only in Greece, but in the whole European Union and it can also have consequences more faraway.”
When the call for a Greek rescue was made earlier this year, Chancellor Merkel was firmly opposed to a bailout. She relented after warnings of lasting damage to the eurozone. Now she wants to make the rescue terms so stiff that no other euro members would dare ask for help.