Greek Cyprus would be a dog guarding sausages, says Merkel aide
BERLIN - Reuters
inland's Prime Minister Jyrki Katainen (L) is awarded the "Ludwig Erhard medal" by Kurt Joachim Lauk, president of the economical council of the CDU, during an economy day of Germany's conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party on June 12 , 2012 in Berlin. AFP PhotoGreek Cyprus should not take over the rotating presidency of the European Union next month because it has sought emergency funding, the head of a business group linked to German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives said.
Greek Cyprus, which is due to take over the six-month presidency from Denmark on July 1, has a banking sector heavily exposed to debt-crippled Greece and said on Monday it was formally applying for help from the EU's rescue funds.
"This is the paradox of the European Union, that the dog should be put in charge of the supply of sausages!" said Kurt Lauk, president of the economic advisory board linked to Merkel's centre-right Christian Democrats.
Lauk called for all countries which have received bailouts - which also include Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Greece - to be barred from holding the EU presidency, which helps to set the agenda of the 27-nation bloc.
"It is unacceptable that a country which has had to seek a bailout can take over the presidency of the EU Council," he said, adding that he doubted whether Greek Cyprus, the euro zone's third smallest economy, had the authority to give direction on stabilizing Europe.
"How can Greek Cyprus engage in crisis management when it is in the middle of a crisis itself?" Lauk asked.
"We will never be able to heal Europe if the president is lying in intensive care with a highly contagious disease."
Germany's foreign office distanced itself from Lauk's comments.
"During its six-month presidency, Greek Cyprus will have the duty to undertake tasks in the interest of the European Union and its member states, just like other countries which have held the post of president of the EU Council," it said.