With Greece’s new hard-left government, Merkel’s hard line shapes up eurozone showdown

With Greece’s new hard-left government, Merkel’s hard line shapes up eurozone showdown

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has ruled out cancelling any of Greece’s debt, saying banks and creditors have already made substantial cuts.

But Mrs Merkel told the Die Welt newspaper she still wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone.

Greece’s left-wing Syriza party won last weekend’s election with a pledge to have half the debt written off.

Its new finance minister has refused to work with the “troika” of global institutions overseeing Greek debt.

The troika – the European Commission, European Central Bank and International Monetary Fund – had agreed a €240bn (£179bn; $270bn) bailout with the previous Greek government.

But Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has already begun to roll back the austerity measures the creditors had demanded as part of the deal. …

On Friday, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned Greece about its negotiation tactics on writing off debt.

“There’s no arguing with us about this, and what’s more we are difficult to blackmail,” he said.

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