No wiggle room for Greece, says Merkel ally

No wiggle room for Greece, says Merkel ally

BERLIN - Agence France-Presse
The parliamentary head of Angela Merkel’s party warned yesterday that crisis-wracked Greece had “no room for maneuver” ahead of talks this week between the German chancellor and the Greek prime minister.

Volker Kauder, parliamentary group leader of Merkel’s conservative bloc, told Der Spiegel weekly: “The Greeks have to stick to what they have promised. There is no room for maneuver, either in terms of time or substance.” “That would be yet another agreement broken. That’s exactly what led us to this crisis,” Kauder said.

Prime Minister Antonis Samaras is due to visit Berlin on Aug. 24 before heading to Paris for talks with French President Francois Hollande the next day.

According to Greek media, Samaras will discuss extending a deadline for Greece, which is threatened with bankruptcy, to make budget cuts in return for its next slice of aid while stopping short of making a formal request. The Financial Times reported last week that Samaras would ask for two more years to make the demanded cuts.

Auditors from the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund -- known as the Troika -- will release a report in mid-September on Greece’s progress towards achieving the required austerity. According to Der Spiegel, this report will call for Athens to slash 14 billion euros ($17 billion) from its budget over the next two years, 2.5 billion euros more than originally demanded.

Juncker: No walkout

Separately, Greece will not leave the eurozone, Eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker was quoted as saying on Aug. 18 ahead of his talks in Athens, which reportedly may seek more time to implement austerity cuts.

The head of the eurozone finance ministers group also called current Spanish and Italian bond yields “totally off the mark.” “No, I don’t think it will happen,” Juncker, who is also Luxembourg’s prime minister, told the Tiroler Tageszeitung Austrian daily when asked whether Greece might leave the currency bloc.“