The future of Europe hangs on the success of the aid package to Greece. That is what German Chancellor Angela Merkel told her colleagues in parliament this morning ahead of Friday’s vote on the rescue plan;
“Europe stands at a crossroads. Europe must decide if it wants to go on as it has in the past . Good intentions have not always led to good acts.”
That was a warning that Germany’s cavalry charge would not come without conditions. Merkel repeated that if the rules of the stability pact had to be changed to allow the euro single currency’s future protection and credibility, so be it;
“As a last resort this means suspending the voting rights of the notorious deficit sinners, and in the case of an extreme emergency we must develop a procedure for the organised bankruptcy of a member state.”
It is a tough line, implying even tougher stability pact rules once the current crisis is over, but Germany feels it has the right to demand financial rigour, as it is paying the lion’s share of the Greek bailout. The government will get the vote through, but has one eye on public opinion, as many Germans resent coming to the Greeks’ aid.