By Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator, Tuesday May 8, 2012
Merkel readies for fight
Angela Merkel is under pressure to defeat the popular backlash against austerity to save her political skin and preserve Germany’s dominance in the eurozone.
Over the next four weeks, the German chancellor will face the fight of her political life on all fronts, domestic and European, at a moment when one slip could sink her government and tear down the European Union’s single currency.
Merkel must take the lead in trying to find an answer for the crisis in Greece, after three-fifths of Greek voters rejected EU austerity measures. Ger-man taxpayers have put $275 billion on the line to bail out countries such as Greece, and Germany’s patience is running out with countries that reject the prescribed economic medicine of debt reduction while continuing to demand the handouts.
To appease her highly taxed voters, who are worried that EU bailouts have breached Germany’s constitution, Merkel has made German economic aid conditional on all eurozone countries signing the “fiskalpakt”.
The treaty, signed by 25 EU countries, gives Brussels officials the right to block bud-gets that break spending rules which are enshrined in national constitutions, as is the case in Germany.
The measures, the chancellor assured German voters, would prevent eurozone countries going bust and leaving Ger-many holding bailout bills.
Merkel on Monday insisted Greece had to stick to the austerity program so resoundingly rejected by voters and that the reforms to the Greek economy were of “utmost importance”(Source: Vancouver Sun)