European Central Bank

Squareheads are screwing over the dodgy greek ratbags

The Germans are marching on the Greeks and their intransigence over repaying their loans stretches on.

The German government has raised the prospect of an in-out referendum to decide Greece’s fate in a sign that Europe’s largest creditor has begun to make contingency plans for a Greek exit from the euro.

Speaking ahead of a meeting of eurozone finance ministers inBrussels, Germany’s Wolfgang Schaeuble said a plebiscite on Greece’s euro membership could prove to be “helpful” for the debt-stricken country and its creditors.

“If the Greek government thinks it must hold a referendum, then let it hold a referendum,” said Mr Schaeuble.

“That might even be a helpful measure for the Greek people to decide whether it is ready to accept what is necessary, or whether it wants something different.”

His comments represent something of a volte-face from Berlin, who famously quashed plans by then prime minister George Papandreou to hold a referendum in 2011. Both Germany and France threatened to withdraw financial aid for Greece if a referendum was held at the height of its debt crisis four years ago.

The president of the European parliament, German Martin Schulz chimed in with the tacit endorsement, saying a referendum was a “possibility” but ultimately it would be up to the Greek government to decide.

Popular votes have not been the preferred course of action for European officials.

The people of the Netherlands and France voted to reject the EU Constitution in 2005, while Ireland also failed to initially ratify the Treaty of Lisbon in 2008.

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras campaigned to stay in the euro when his Leftist Syriza party stormed to power in late January. But after three months of fractious talks which have yielded little agreement, Greece stands on the brink of defaulting to its own people at the end of the month.

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Tell him he’s dreamin’

The Telegraph

The euro is rooted. Hard working Germans won’t want to fund dodgy, lazy Frenchmen to sit around doing nothing while getting paid by their government.

Forget the problems at the fringes, it is the bludging frogs who are the real problem.

One of the founding fathers of the euro admits that some states may be forced to abandon the single currency, but insists Germany would be better off staying in.

Otmar Issing, a former European Central Bank chief economist, warned that the eurozone could be heading towards fracture in a book calledHow we save the euro and strengthen Europe published this week .

“Everything speaks in favour of saving the euro area. How many countries will be able to be part of it in the long term remains to be seen,” said Mr Issing in the book, which is written as a conversation between an economist and a journalist.

At no point did he explicitly refer to Greece, but the debt-stricken country has been hovering perilously close to default and an exit from the eurozone as it makes harsh spending cuts and tax hikes to appease the EU and ECB after receiving billions in bail-out payments.

“We are still a long way off saying ‘that’s it, now we are sure to make progress’. Substantial reforms in almost all countries are still pending,” he added.