German FDP calls delay in Greek talks blow to euro
BERLIN (Reuters) - The interruption of talks between Greece and international lenders on a new aid tranche is a blow to the stability of Europe's currency, the deputy leader of Germany's junior coalition partners said on Saturday.
Christian Lindner, general secretary of the Free Democrats, (FDP) junior coalition partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right government, said Athens was endangering European solidarity.
"The breakdown of talks between the Troika and Greece is a blow to the stability of the euro," he said at a news conference in Berlin.
Referring to Greece's failure to meet deficit targets set in exchange for a second bailout package, Lindner said Athens was shirking responsibilities to which it had agreed.
"This is not about non-binding statements of intent, but contractually secured reciprocity for the emergency loans," he said. "We insist these agreements are observed."
Talks between Greece and the EU, IMF and ECB were put on hold on Friday after disagreement over why Athens has fallen behind schedule in cutting its budget deficit and what it must do to catch up.
The unplanned early departure of senior inspectors from the three bodies showed tension between Athens and its lenders over reforms, as clouds gathered over the second bailout package aiming to pull the country out of a severe debt crisis.
Separately, senior FDP official Hermann Otto Solms, a vice-president of the Bundestag and an economy committee member in parliament said since Greece could not handle its debt problem and it should consider leaving the euro.
"It should be considered whether a restructuring and exit from the euro would offer better perspectives for the currency union and Greece itself," he told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung.
The pro-business FDP styles itself as a defender of the German taxpayer, a stance Lindner reiterated in his statement over Greece.
"Taxpayers in Northern Europe and especially Germany cannot accept inability or reluctance. In the eyes of the FDP, Greece must reaffirm its will for stability and reform."
"Mediation or postponements are no longer acceptable for us. The heads of the IMF and euro countries should therefore travel to Athens immediately to obtain binding declarations toward the fulfillment of the agreed goals."
In another comment to a newspaper, Gerda Hasselfeldt, who chairs the group of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Bavaria's sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU) in parliament, said Greece was not doing enough to tackle its debt problem.
"When you receive help, you must prove yourself reliable," she told the Tagesspiegel am Sonntag.
(Reporting by Brian Rohan)