German chancellor Angela Merkel has been preparing for weeks for a new, centre-left government in Athens, according to the Italian newspaper La Stampa.
The paper wrote that Jörg Asmussen, a minister in the German cabinet, has been for some time in secret talks with senior members of Syriza, the anti-austerity Greek party currently on the opposition but expected to take power in the next general election in Athens.
Asmussen, who previously sat on the European Central Bank Executive Board, is described as a favourite of both ECB’s president Mario Draghi and Germany’s economic minister Wolfgang Schäuble. He is the man chosen by Frankfurt and Berlin to deal with Alexis Tsipras, the leader of Syriza who is advocating for a total wipe out of the Greek foreign debt.
At the same time, Niko Pappas, a spokesman from Syriza, said that the party will not pull Greece out of the eurozone and “will not take unilateral decisions” if it takes power in the elections, scheduled for Jan. 25.
Earlier this month, Schäuble said that “any new government must compel with the duties taken by its predecessor,” meaning that even if Syriza wins the elections, Greece will still have to act according the bailout agreement with the ECB and IMF.
Schäuble is firmly against any form of quantitative easing in the early months of 2015, a move that would boost the support of other anti-austerity parties across the continent, from Spain’s Podemos to Italy’s Five Star Movement.
The mediation between Asmussen and the new leaders of the Greek parliament is therefore more important than ever.
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