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Germany to Greece: You must continue with austerity

The Greek electorate will vote tomorrow for the second time in six weeks.

An elderly supporter of New Democracy party waves a Greek flag in front of a smoke from flairs during an election rally at Syntagma square in Athens last night.
An elderly supporter of New Democracy party waves a Greek flag in front of a smoke from flairs during an election rally at Syntagma square in Athens last night.
Image: Petros Karadjias/AP/Press Association Images

GERMAN CHANCELLOR ANGELA Merkel has said that for Europe to thrive, Greece needs to elect a government that will keep to the current bailout agreements.

Speaking at a conference of her conservative party today, Merkel said that promises cannot be continuously broken by Europeans. “It cannot be the case and this is also an issue now in connection with the Greek election – that what comes out in the end is that those who don’t keep to an agreement, can so to speak, lead everyone else through the arena by the nose ring.

“That won’t work,” she added. “That is why it is so important that, in the Greek election tomorrow…a result emerges in which those who form a government in future tell us, yes, we want to keep to the agreements.”

Greece is to hold its second national elections in six weeks tomorrow as coalition talks failed to bring about a government after the initial split vote.

Germany’s vice-chancellor echoed his leader’s comments in a interview with the Bild am Sonntag newspaper. Insisting “solidarity is not a one way street”, Philipp Roesler said that “any future government will have to continue with agreed austerity and reform”.

“Without reforms, there can be no further money,” warned the Economy Minister.

Greece’s electorate go to the polls tomorrow amid fears that the country could be kicked out of the eurozone if the terms of its €130 billion bailout are rejected – something the radical left Syriza party has threatened to do if it wins a majority.

According to Reuters, Alexis Tsipras’s Syriza are currently tied with the conservative New Democracy party. Eurogroup president Jean-Claude Juncker has expressed his concerns over the possibility of a win for the left.

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In a newspaper interview with the Austrian paper Kurier, he said:

If the radical left wins – which cannot be ruled out – the consequences for the currency union are unforeseeable. We will have to speak to any government. I can only warn everyone against leaving the currency union. The internal cohesion of the euro zone would be in danger.

This has to be avoided. This would send a devastating signal. The Greeks must be aware of this.

Meanwhile, in the US Barack Obama has said that he is looking for more powerful signals from Europe that it is resolving its financial crisis.

“Obviously, this matters to us because Europe is our largest economic trading partner,” Obama said. “If there’s less demand for our products in places like Paris or Madrid, it could mean less business for manufacturers in places like Pittsburgh or Milwaukee. The good news is there is a path out of this challenge. These decisions are fundamentally in the hands of Europe’s leaders.”

-Additional reporting by AP

Explainer: What would a Greek eurozone exit look like?

Greek election: Will the country stay in the euro, or crash out?

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