The Greeks have a classical Greek phrase – Give us money! But, the Europeans are clutching their wallets tighter.
We need to decide in what situation aid could be put on the agenda at all, said Merkel. As far as Germany is concerned, such a situation is a last resort, in other words, imminent insolvency. Luckily, Greece isn’t in that situation.
That statement meant nothing to Prime Minister George Papandreou. Papandreou wants EU leaders to provide specifics of an aid package that will help him steer the country’s borrowing costs lower and avoid the need for a bailout. The EU should place the gun on the table, so that the speculators can leave us at peace, he said March 20.
Likewise, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, said that there is no urgent need to have a decision at the Brussels meeting while assuring Greek policy makers that the EU will not abandon them.
Papandreou may not be willing to wait that long. Last week he said he may seek help from the IMF if Europe didn’t act quickly to backstop Greece, a move opposed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Trichet, partly because it would show the euro region can’t solve its own crises.
Can the EU nations solve their own problems? Not if they are tied to one currency – the Euro – and cannot change its value.