Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras felt the full force of opposition leader Alexis Tsipras as the fragile coalition government struggled to hold its own in talks with the Troika.
Tsipras accused the government of having become the ‘pushover of Europe’ after the Troika decided to freeze the merger between the National Bank of Greece and Euro bank, a move that could have created the biggest bank in Greece with assets of around €180 billion Euros. The Bank of Greece, the country’s Central Bank, said late Sunday it had received letters from Eurobank and National Bank of Greece saying they had been unable to ensure that 10% of their share offerings would be taken up by the private sector, Troika fears that the merger would have created a bank that was too big to fail was also touted as one the major reasons for the deals collapse.
At the weekend negotiations between the Troika and government grew heated as Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras reportedly challenged officials pushing for further austerity to “take the keys of this ministry and give them to Tsipras.”
The government managed to calm tempers after Prime Minister Samaras told the Troika that austerity-weary Greeks are unable to take any more pain.
“Whatever they tell them, they just accept it, they might as well hand us the keys now.”Tsipras retorted at a gathering of Hellenic Railways Organization (OSE) workers in Athens, referring to government officials stance in talks with foreign envoys. In a publication in a Greek newspaper Tsipras pushed on with his condemnation, accusing the government of ‘surrendering’ to the Troika. The Leftist leader also mocked the parties that comprise the coalition and called for early elections.
Concern is growing over the threat posed by large banks in the wake of the Cyprus banking crisis, with nations such as Slovenia, Luxembourg and Malta all mentioned as being at risk.
Elsewhere in Greece a report compiled by the Greek States Legal Council suggested that Greece is owed a whopping €162 billion Euros in war repatriations from Berlin. The Germans occupied the country in World War Two. According to the report experts found that Germany should pay Greece 108 billion euros for damage to infrastructure and 54 billion euros for a loan that the Nazi occupation forces obliged Greece to take in order to pay Berlin during the war.
The reparations are equivalent to about 80 percent of Greek gross domestic product; however Athens is wary of moving ahead with the demands. The government sees the report as being particularly sensitive due to the fear that it could damage their relations with Europe’s most important supplier of Euro-crisis aid.
As of 12:00 pm GMT
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