German parliament leader "irritated" by Greek move

Reuters , Tuesday 1 Nov 2011

Prominent German politician expresses annoyance at Greek prime minister's plan to call a referendum on the country's EU rescue package

A leader in Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right coalition said on Tuesday he was "irritated" to hear Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou had called a referendum on the EU bailout deal for his country.

Rainer Bruederle, parliamentary floor leader for the Free Democrats Party (FDP) that shares power with Merkel's conservatives, said that it sounded to him like Greece was now trying to backtrack on the deal with EU leaders.

"I was irritated (by the news)," Bruederle told Deutschlandfunk radio. "That's a strange way to act.

"The prime minister had (agreed) to a rescue package that benefited his country. Other countries are making considerable sacrifices for decades of mismanagement and poor leadership in Greece - wrong decisions were made and the country manoeuvred itself into this crisis.

"This sounds to me like someone is trying to wriggle out of what was agreed - a strange thing to do," said Bruederle, who was economy minister for most of the last two years before taking over the leadership of the FDP in parliament.

He said there was only one solution.

"One can only do one thing: make the preparations for the eventuality that there is a state insolvency in Greece and if it doesn't fulfil the agreements, then the point will have been reached where the money is turned off.

"Then they'll have a state insolvency and then one will have to combat the fear of contagion for the European banking system that can result from that," said Bruederle.

Joerg Rocholl, president of the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin, told ZDF television that Greece's retreat from the agreement could mean that other countries no longer feel obliged to take part in the rescue.

"It's a very surprising as well as courageous decision ... because if it doesn't work out - and that's the way it's looking right now because there is considerable resistance among the Greek populace - it could mean that other countries don't feel obliged to fulfil their promises."

Rocholl said some EU countries could feel free to retreat from their vows to contribute to the Greek rescue. "That could mean that Greece can't remain in the euro," he said.

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