The Greek government is running out of time, money and broad support as a new poll shows a clear majority of Germans want Greece to leave the European Union (EU).
Polling company YouGov revealed Wednesday that 58 per cent of people would prefer it if Greece simply left the EU against just 28 per cent of Germans who thought that Greece should remain in, while 14 per cent had no opinion. Germany is Greece’s biggest creditor and the biggest contributor to the EU budget and the eurozone bailout fund.
The poll results come as Europe readies for a last-ditch round of negotiations between Eurogroup finance ministers in Luxembourg on Thursday and Friday. As fraught as the situation is, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has publicly refused to give up hope of a solution – although she admitted on Tuesday that “a decision can only be reached [at the finance ministers’ meeting] if there is a collective suggestion from the three institutions with Greece”.
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Tuesday that he was willing to return to the table following failed negotiations last weekend.
But he spurned any continuation of austerity politics, while Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said that the demands of Greece’s creditors were a humiliation for the Greek people.
The International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission say that Greece must raise the retirement age, reduce pensions and rule out increasing the minimum wage, as well as privatising state-run businesses.
Latest figures show Greece is currently 323 billion euros in debt ($352.7 billion) – more than 175 per cent of its GDP. That amount is spread across two foreign creditors – the European Union (EU) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) – roughly $264.5 million (75 per cent of its total debt). The amount owed directly to Germany is 56 billion euros ($61.1 billion).
For an idea of just what Greece is up against, have a look at this debt clock. It shows the astronomical amounts accruing to the country and its 11 million citizens every second in the form of national debt – and there is no end in sight.
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