Despite Angela Merkel's insistence on numerous occasions this past week that there will be "no debt renegotiations," it appears a schism at the core of Europe is opening. As France24 reports, following a meeting between France's finance minister Michel Sapin and Greece's finance minister Yanis Varoufakis, the press conference had a considerably more amicable tone that Friday's Dijsselbloem dissing. "France is more than prepared to support Greece," Sapin said adding that Greece’s efforts to renegotiate were "legitimate." Sapin urged a "new contract between Greece and its partners."
France’s Socialist government offered support Sunday for Greece’s efforts to renegotiate debt for its huge bailout plan, amid renewed fears about Europe’s economic stability.The backing was a victory for Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, holding talks with European officials to push for new conditions on debt from creditors who rescued Greece’s economy to save the shared euro currency. Worries have mounted that Greece’s new far left government might not pay back its debts.Varoufakis is also visiting London and Rome – and said Sunday that he would visit Berlin. The German government has been particularly angry at the new Greek government’s position and bluntly rejected suggestions that Greece should be forgiven part of its rescue loans.Varoufakis insisted that Greece wants to pay the money back, but said he wants new terms and new negotiating partners, arguing that “it’s not worth” discussing with the so-called “troika” of creditors who set the strict terms for Greece’s rescue.France’s Socialist leadership, whose president has campaigned against austerity, presented itself Sunday as a possible mediator between Greece and creditors.French Finance Minister Michel Sapin insisted his country wouldn’t support canceling the debt, but offered support for a new timeframe or terms.“France is more than prepared to support Greece,” Sapin said after meeting Varoufakis, saying Greece’s efforts to renegotiate were “legitimate.” Sapin urged a “new contract between Greece and its partners.”
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Perhaps Merkel should remember her nation's own history?
Marina Prentoulis, a senior lecturer at the University of East Anglia and Syriza’s London spokesman, said that Europe’s austerity drive had left an entire generation in Greece with “no future”."We are not going to enforce the austerity programmes, what we call the memoranda, it created a huge humanitarian crisis, she said. People have been working all their lives and their pensions have been slashed to 40pc," she told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show."We have huge unemployment – 27pc. And 60pc for young people. This means that they have created a generation that has effectively no future. They have destroyed any employment rights. So this has to stop. This programme Syriza has pledged is not going to be enforced any more."Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor, has ruled-out cancelling more of Greece's national debt, which has climbed to more than 175pc of gross domestic product (GDP). However, Ms Prentoulis said Germany should "remember it’s own history"."In 1953 a big part of the German debt was written off and then the repayments were associated with growth. This is what Syriza is asking for Greece as well," she said.