Merkel mulls easier Greek bailout

Fri, Aug 17, 2012, 01:00

Chancellor Angela Merkel is considering easing Greece's bailout terms, fanning tensions with members of her coalition who oppose giving the Greek government any more concessions, two German lawmakers said.

Ms Merkel's government is torn between showing some leniency toward Greece as it struggles to meet the terms of its rescues and insisting that prime minister Antonis Samaras delivers on his promises, Klaus-Peter Willsch and Frank Schaeffler, both of whom have voted against Ms Merkel's euro crisis policies in parliament, said in separate telephone interviews.

"The sensitivities among many more than just the 27 coalition members who voted 'no' last time are well known" to Ms Merkel, "so the official line is to stay tough" on Greece, said Mr Willsch, a member of Ms Merkel's Christian Democratic Union party. "But at the same time, some are being sent forward to test the waters on how this tough line can be abandoned."

Mr Samaras, whose coalition favours extending its fiscal adjustment program by two years to the end of 2016, will visit Berlin on August 24 for talks with Ms Merkel almost three years after the debt crisis emerged in Greece.

The country's international creditors are due to report on Greek progress in meeting bailout targets next month, an assessment that will determine whether Greece receives a next aid payment needed to stay in the euro.