Italy concerned at German 'intransigence' over helping Greece

26th April 2010, Comments 0 comments

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini on Monday voiced concern at Germany's "intransigence" as Berlin holds back from offering swift aid to debt-stricken Greece.

"I am concerned by the intransigence Germany is showing," after Athens formally requested EU-IMF aid to help it tackle its debt crisis, Frattini said as he arrived for talks in Luxembourg with his EU counterparts.

"There can be no doubt -- if the (shared) house is in difficulty we have to save the walls because we are all in this (shared) house," the Italian minister insisted.

"This is not a rescue operation (of Greece), this is a consolidation of Europe's walls, the walls of the euro, it's a rescue for all of us," Frattini said.

His German counterpart Guido Westerwelle said, as he arrived for the talks, that Berlin opposes handing over financial aid to Greece without Athens first presenting a credible programme of debt reduction.

"Making promises of concrete aid too soon will only have the effect of taking the pressure off Greece," Westerwelle said.

"Above all, we need to see budget consolidation taking place in Greece," said Westerwelle, whose governing coalition is facing a tricky regional election on May 9.

© 2010 AFP

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