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Germany and France get tough with Greece

Germany and France get tough with Greece
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Europe’s economic big boys France and Germany have promised to take a hardline with Greece in exchange for financial support.

French finance minister Christine Lagarde insisted she will hold Athens to account after it was forced to go cap in hand to the EU and IMF on Friday for a massive bailout.

Serious doubts have emerged over whether the 45 billion euros asked for will be enough. Germany’s finance chief Wolfgang Schäuble also said further difficult steps by Greece were needed to grapple with its deficit.

“The conditions for long term help depend on how long it takes Greece to agree with us on a restructuring programme for the years to come, which might convince the financial markets.”

The tough stance comes on top of a poll suggesting some 65 percent of Greeks believe Prime Minister George Papandreou misled them over the economy. It also seems less than half the population now believe he can handle the crisis, down from 55 percent in February.

Debt-saddled Greece has already announced billions of euros in tax hikes and public sector wage cuts, but it now looks almost inevitable it will have to take further painful economic measures if it wants to secure emergency aid.