Germany Rejects Greek Claim It Profits from Crisis

Tuesday, 23 Mar 2010 10:39 AM

Germany's foreign minister on Tuesday rejected a charge by Greece's deputy prime minister that Berlin is reluctant to help Athens because its exporters and banks are profiting from a debt crisis that has hit the euro.

Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle instead sought to put the focus of the debt crisis debate on Greece, saying Athens must press ahead with deficit cutting measures.

"We Germans have a massive interest in a strong euro," he told Deutschlandfunk radio.

Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos made his characteristically robust criticism of Germany on Monday, as European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and ministers across Europe raised the pressure on Berlin to drop opposition to agreeing support measures for Greece.

Westerwelle's Free Democrats (FDP) have led resistance within the German coalition government to giving Greece aid.

"The issue is whether money is needed now — and it is not," Westerwelle said, adding that Greece had not asked for financial aid.

"I have the impression that the Greek side knows too that the reforms must be advanced now." "For us as Europeans, it is completely clear that we not only want European solidarity, but that we support it too," he said.

But he added that he feared putting forward aid would only weaken the resolve of the Greek government to implement reforms.

The euro has lost about 5 percent against the U.S. dollar this year on worries about Greece's fiscal crisis and other weaker euro zone members.

© 2015 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

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