US defends unruly Greece as Europe steps up ‘Grexit’ threats

Germany’s vice-chancellor said “zero chances” that his country will respond to Greek demand for Nazi war reparations

Europe’s creditor powers have reacted with fury as Greece presses ahead with plans to smash its EU-IMF Troika programme and demand war reparations for Nazi occupation, raising the risk of a traumatic rupture with Athens by the end of the month.

Wolfgang Schauble, Germany’s finance minister, said there could be no bridging agreement for the radical Syriza government, insisting that it must stick rigidly to the terms of Greece’s €245bn bail-out package and secure a negotiated extension, or face the consequences. “If they want to deal with us, they need a programme,” he said.

He issued a clear warning to the new Greek premier Alexis Tsipras that his country will be left penniless in a hostile world. “I don’t know how financial markets will handle it, but maybe he knows better,” he said.

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