– Greece passes new deficit cuts to avert ‘catastrophe’ (Telegraph)
March 4 (Bloomberg) — Greece’s pledge to deepen planned budget-deficit cuts failed to yield an offer of assistance from Germany, Europe’s biggest economy, as protesters in Athens seized the finance ministry building and blocked roads in the city center.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a meeting tomorrow with Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou won’t be “about aid commitments.” Her finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, said the third round of deficit-reduction measures this year were probably enough to convince investors to buy Greek debt.
While Papandreou is risking a backlash at home to meet European Union demands for more deficit cuts before allies even consider providing aid, Merkel is facing domestic opposition to tapping taxpayers to extend a financial lifeline to Greece.
“There would be no understanding in Germany for bailing out Greece,” Henrik Enderlein, a political economist at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin, said by phone. “It’s a bit of catch-22 situation: if you give in to Greece and you put 5 billion or perhaps even 10 billion into some kind of rescue package or into some guarantees, then the German government would look irresponsible. However, if it doesn’t, then European Union leaders might put a lot of pressure on Merkel and say, look, we have to bail out Greece.”