Debt crisis: Germany holds a gun to Greece’s head

Pressure on Greece increased dramatically on Wednesday night after Germany’s central bank called for a suspension of financial support to Athens and eurozone finance ministries agreed to draft contingency plans for a Greek exit from the euro.

The German financial daily Handelsblatt said the Bundesbank was “holding a gun to Greece’s head”, hammering home the message that Germany will not submit to blackmail from populist politicians in Athens.

Berlin also leaked news that their member on the European Central Bank board, Jürg Asmussen, is to head an ECB taskforce to handle the Greek crisis.

There was confusion in Brussels over leaks that EMU finance ministry officials had agreed in a meeting on Monday – allegedly in the name of Eurogroup executives – that each state should draw up a national plan to cope with a Greek exit.

Athens issued an angry denial, saying the claims were false. The European Commission stressed that it was not told about the meeting, even though it is a member of the working group. “We are not preparing such a plan, though we are ready to face any eventuality,” said an official.

There were suspicions that Germany had leaked its own proposal without gaining the assent of other EU states. The move has further poisoned the atmosphere, though officials played down the exit plans last night. The escalating brinkmanship between Athens and EMU’s creditor powers came as European leaders gathered in Brussels last night for a “growth dinner”, an agenda already overtaken by fast-moving events.

Full article: Debt crisis: Germany holds a gun to Greece’s head (The Telegraph)

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