Chafing at insults, Germany loses patience with Greece

Mon Feb 13, 2012 9:06am EST
 
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By Stephen Brown

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany is running out of patience with throwing money into the "bottomless pit" of Greece's debt crisis and any lingering sympathy in Berlin is being undermined by anti-German slogans on the lips of politicians and austerity protesters in Athens.

While officially hailing the Greek parliament's approval of the savings package required for a new 130 billion-euro bailout,

Berlin signaled this would not automatically mean more aid, as the feeling grew that Greece should not be saved at any cost.

With Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warning "Greek promises aren't enough for us anymore", and Economy Minister Philipp Roesler saying "fear of Day X (a Greek euro exit)" is fading, Germany seems to have tired of issuing threats that it would never follow through.

"Berlin threatens Greeks with end to aid," read the front page of the Sueddeutsche Zeitung newspaper, while Die Welt wrote: "Schaeuble warns Greeks: no savings, no money."

The sight of Greek anti-austerity protesters and politicians blaming Chancellor Angela Merkel for their plight provoked anger in the patriotic pages of Germany's best-selling daily, Bild.

Greeks and other European recipients of aid to which Germany is the biggest single contributor "should put flowers outside our embassies and send the chancellor thank-you notes."

"Instead the demonstrators insult their German helpers and liken our government to Nazis, which is intolerable," it said.   Continued...

 
<p>Firemen hose down a burned-out shop after a night of violence which followed the Greek parliament approval of a deeply unpopular austerity bill in Athens, February 13, 2012. REUTERS/John Kolesidis</p>