BERLIN, May 5 (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has pledged to contribute to an aid package for debt-stricken Greece, dropping earlier resistance to help.
Following are extracts from Wednesday’s editorials and articles in influential German newspapers on Greece and the euro zone crisis:
DIE WELT (centre-right)
“For Germany, it is a week of destiny. The gigantic aid package that is being put into motion radically changes the nature of the European currency union. The most broad-reaching political decision in Europe since the introduction of the euro is taking place without a public debate, according to the wishes of the government: the participation of parliament is a pure farce, as the people’s representatives have no real room to manoeuvre.
“Time and again Finance Minister Schaeuble assures us that there is no alternative to aid for Greece. The stability of the euro can only be secured in this way. With great pathos, the CDU politician practically transforms the highly controversial procedure into a question of war and peace. Germany’s future is supposedly only secure within the European family.
“No one can seriously promise that the fresh money can prevent a Greek bankruptcy and debt rescheduling... If Athens collapses within a few months, not only will taxpayer money be lost, but belief in politics will be definitively damaged.
“There are good political and economic reasons for believing the current path to be false. It is not really proof of solidarity to chain the Greeks to a currency that requires stability measures which massively overstrain them and strangle their tattered economy. In turn, the European scepticism that has grown throughout the crisis could blow up into pure rage if the common currency weakens in the newly created transfer union. Many German feel powerless and helpless. That is no good.”
FINANCIAL TIMES DEUTSCHLAND (Business)
Comment from Wolfgang Muenchau
“A new scandal is brewing over Greek aid, again as a result of double-dealing by government heads. Markets are getting signals that the agreed credit will have so-called junior status. That means if Greece goes bankrupt ... holders of Greek state bonds will be paid back first and only if there is anything left, will European governments get their money back.
“The public is not being told about this. IMF money is traditionally super-senior -- that means high on the priority list. I had assumed the same would apply to euro zone governments .. but I have heard the IMF and EU loans will enjoy junior status. That would be an absolute scandal.
“The question of the seniority of debt is relevant.
“German lawmakers should ask about this and refuse to agree (to the aid) if they do not get clear answers.
“Euro zone states are playing the same deceitful game Chancellor Angela Merkel tried to play for so long to overcome the Greek aid question.
“So here is my call to German lawmakers: please give us clarity about the status of the EU and IMF credit.”
BILD (centre-right, mass circulation)
“The wave against the financial aid for Greece is rolling!
“Yesterday, Bild printed an open letter to all members of parliament and asked: “Dear politicians, would you personally guarantee the billions for the Greeks?
“Now the first Bild readers have sent their lawmakers the letter - it has been downloaded on the internet many thousands of times!
“Among politicians, too, despair about the billions of aid is growing. FDP finance expert Frank Schaeffler said: ‘I don’t want to vouch for this and do not agree with the Greece aid. The package won’t work: Greece will have more debt when the EU plan has run out than today.’
“Lutz Knopek (FDP): ‘I am sceptical as to whether the Greeks are serious about implementating the savings programme.’
“Both will vote against the credit package on Friday, and members of the conservatives (Chancellor Angela Merkel’s camp) are also expected to vote against it.”
FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINE ZEITUNG (conservative)
“The Greek drama would be easier to bear if the federal government would stop taking the people for fools. Finance Minister Schaeuble and Deutsche Bank Chief Executive Josef Ackermann are rushing to get a ‘significant and positive contribution’ from the banks to help Greece.
“In fact, the banks come out unscathed ... provided governments avert a bankrupt Greece with the help of the taxpayer... They also want to draw loans from the state bank, which is guaranteed by the federal government, a win-win for banks -- for there are no safer bonds.
“How about a little honesty for a change? The fathers of the monetary union feared the euro would weaken if countries borrowed too much at each other’s expense. That is why they forbid countries being liable for each others’ debts.”
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