A survey has found that 48 per cent of Germans are in favour of Greece leaving the eurozone, compared to only 29 per cent who want them to remain in the currency union.
With Greece’s current bailout programme scheduled to expire at the end of the month, no new funds would be made available to Athens from March onwards, leaving the government with the very real threat of immediate insolvency, Euractive reports.
Finance ministers are meeting in Brussels today to discuss the crisis, with both major players in the debate holding fast to their position. And the German leaders will be conscious that 47 per cent of supporters of the centre right CDU support a Greek exit from the euro, or “Grexit”.
From today, the European Central bank will no longer accept Greek bonds as securities, making it virtually impossible for Greek banks to borrow money from the central bank. The Bond market opened today with yields on ten year Greek Government Bonds at 10 per cent, rising to 10.5 percent as trading progressed.
Most of the supporters of Grexit (82 per cent) align themselves with the Eurosceptic Alternative for Germany (AfD) party with 43 per cent of Social Democrats agreeing. The majority of supporters of left wing parties wanted Greece to remain, with the Green party heading the table at 47 per cent.
Even if Greece does remain in the currency bloc, 44 per cent of Germans expect a write off of the debt, with a majority of those responding from all sides of the political spectrum predicting this will happen.
But politicians and analysts are less certain than the voters, with German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble saying “Without a [reform] programme, it is difficult for Greece.”
Speaking from the G20 in Istanbul, Mr Schäuble said it was not clear to him how the country expected to continue without taking the lead from the Troika. “I do not understand how the Greek government hopes to stem that, but if my assistance is not wanted that is also alright,” he said.
The new Greek government has warned that it will look to Russia and China for financing if the EU is not flexible in its negotiations.
But the approach was slammed by one economic affairs expert who called the government “cowardly”.
Lars Feld told Handelsblatt, “The Greek government is continuing to play the cowardly game, without recognising that it is about time for cooperative behaviour.”
“A factual Grexit as collateral damage of this policy is harmful for Greece, first and foremost,” he argued, saying that the Eurozone would be able to recover from Grexit but that he doubted Greece would be able to.
But the government has had support from some in Germany, with Udo Bullman, chairman of the Social Democratic Party MEPs saying: “Of course debts must be serviced, but apparently dogmatic adherence to crisis policy has not helped so far. No negotiating partner can be interested in ‘continuing as is’. Neither the EU nor the Greek government can be interested in a Grexit,”
But Steffen Kampeter, the German Finance Secretary, emphasised that Greece cannot one-sidedly terminate a contract.
“It is not up to Europe to consider what should be done, but the Greeks to reconsider their position,” he said on German broadcaster ARD.
The German Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on Greece to present a plan for solving the debt crisis at the meeting of ministers in Brussels today.