Athens Again

Germany Fears Greek Drama

Tsipras Laif HB
Alexis Tspiras, the man the Germans fear.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Syriza wants a debt write-down for Greece. If it wins elections it could put Athens on a collision course with Germany, which is firmly against easing austerity and reforms.

  • Facts


    • Greece will hold early parliamentary elections in January, which are likely to be won by the leftist Syriza.
    • The IMF has suspended negotiations with Athens on its bailout program until a new government is in place.
    • Syriza wants a write-down of its debt, now 175 percent of GDP, something Germany firmly refuses.
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When Athens is in crisis, Berlin worries.

Greece faces snap elections as early as next month and it looks very much as if the leftist Syriza, which has rejected euro zone austerity policies, will come to power. If it does, there is a real risk of a Greek default and another wave of chaos in the euro zone.

The euro crisis, it seems, is back.

German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, has already entered the debate, making it clear that Germany expects Greece to stick to its commitments.

“Any new government has to stick to the contractual agreements of its predecessors,” he warned. He added that while Germany would help the country “to help itself,” if the country stuck to its reform path, there was “no alternative” to structural change.

The Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, was constitutionally obliged to call new national elections after the government’s candidate for president, a largely ceremonial role, failed to be elected by parliament on Monday. Mr. Samaras had hoped to muster the 180 votes required but in the third round his candidate, Stavros Dimas, only got 168 votes.

This result will now trigger a general election.

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