Germany’s Merkel rejects demands to cancel more Greek debt

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who presides over Europe’s largest and strongest economy, has again ruled out debt forgiveness for Greece’s international rescue loans.

In interviews appearing Saturday in the German newspapers, Merkel said Greece had already gained billions of dollars in concessions from bankers and foreign creditors since striking a bailout deal in 2010.

“I do not envisage fresh debt cancellation,” she said.

However, the German leader promised to stand by Greece and other debt-ridden European nations if they continue their own economic reforms.

The far-left Greek government elected January 25 is demanding that its creditors write off part of its $360 billion bailout debt, in a push to ease widespread hardships that mandated budget cuts have inflicted on Greek citizens.

In Athens on Saturday, new Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said he though Athens and its creditors could reach a mutually beneficial agreement to ease terms of the bailout.

On Friday, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis said the new government had no intention of entering negotiations on the country’s bailout with the European Union, the European Central Bank and the International Monetary Fund — the lending “troika” that launched the rescue nearly five years ago.

Instead, Varoufakis said, he will seek talks with individual leaders from the 19 countries using the euro currency.


(Photo: Michael Panse)