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German politicans slam Greece's rejection of 'generous' offer

German politicians have reacted with shock and anger to Greece's rejection of an offer from its creditors that could have unlocked much-needed bailout funds. Athens could go bankrupt within a matter of days.

Politicians from Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU) and their coalition partners, the Social Democrats (SPD) were highly critical of Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his finance minister, Yanis Varoufakis, a day after they turned down what Merkel described as an "extraordinarily generous" offer# from Athens' creditors.

"The whole thing is just absurd," Volker Kauder, the CDU's parliamentary leader told the mass circulation newspaper "Bild." He also described the Greek government's plan to hold a referendum next Sunday "a trick to hold onto power" and declared that Tsipras and Varoufakis had "failed with their strategy of trying to divide Europe."

"They are leading their country into chaos," he concluded.

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel, who is both economy minister and deputy chancellor was similarly scathing in remarks made to the Munich-based daily "Süddeutsche Zeitung."

"I'm appalled that the Greeks turned down this most accommodating offer," he said. "It went further than anything before. Tsipras wants an offer without any conditions. Europe isn't going to accept that."

Exasperation

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier expressed exasperation over Saturday's turn of events in Brussels.

"I don't understand how an elected Greek government can urge its own people to reject Europe's proposal and how it can take its own people hostage to try to squeeze more concessions from Europe," he said in German Sunday paper "Welt am Sonntag" newspaper.

"The Greek government's zig-zag course makes me speechless," the Social Democrat added. "They need to take responsibility for its people and stop fuelling illusions."

The left-wing opposition though, argued that Greece's left-wing government wasn't only to blame.

'Profound mistake'

The parliamentary leader of the Left party, Gregor Gysi told the AFP news agency that Chancellor Merkel would be making a "profound mistake" if she continued down her current path regarding Greece "for ideological reasons."

The parliamentary leaders of the Greens, Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Anton Hofreiter, meanwhile, said a referendum on the creditors' last offer, to be held in Greece on July 5, could amount to an opportunity for the people to "correct their government's 'no'."

What is not clear, is whether the last offer from the institutions formerly known as the "troika," the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund is even on the table anymore. A statement released by the European Commission on Sunday blamed the Greek side for choosing to "abandon the process."

Chancellor Merkel has called a meeting involving the leaders and parliamentary leaders of all parties represented in the Bundestag for Monday afternoon to discuss the Greek crisis.

pfd/ng (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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