Berlin and Paris frustrated as Greeks delay bailout talks

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Berlin and Paris frustrated as Greeks delay bailout talks

Berlin and Paris frustrated as Greeks delay bailout talks
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German Chancellor Angela Merkel has expressed exasperation at the time the Greek government is taking to accept the latest tranche of austerity and reform conditions demanded to secure a 130 billion euro rescue loan.

If Athens fails to accept the package it faces a debt default which threatens its future in the euro zone.

Earlier the Greek coalition put back a meeting on the crisis until Tuesday, a decision which irked French President Nicolas Sarkozy as he hosted Angela Merkel in Paris.

“Europe is a place where everyone has rights but also has duties. One cannot demand one’s rights without accepting one’s duties. Time is running out, it is a matter of days. Things have to be concluded one has to decide and one has to sign,” he said.

Both Paris and Berlin want Athens to deposit revenue in a special account to guarantee creditors are paid consistently.

Angela Merkel went on record to back the idea:

“I support, as the French president does, the idea that the necessary interest payments for the debt be paid into a separate account so that it can be sure that Greece has the money available at all times.”

The Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos along with coalition partners are wary of accepting another raft of deeply unpopular wage and pension reductions, job cuts and tougher tax rules.

Fury at the prospect of further belt tightening has prompted the two main trade unions to call for a 24-hour strike on tuesday in protest over policies they say have shattered the Greek economy.