A MAJORITY of Germans would like debt-ridden Greece to be thrown out of the eurozone if necessary and more than two-thirds oppose handing Athens billions of euros in credit, a poll published yesterday showed.
Vocal opposition to aid for Greece from members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition also grew at the weekend with several senior politicians expressing scepticism.
The poll for the populist Bild am Sonntag newspaper showed 53 per cent of Germans asked said the European Union should, if necessary, expel Greece from the eurozone.
Athens has struggled to convince investors it is tackling its debt crisis and markets are nervous about a default.
EU leaders discussed the issue last week and offered words of support but failed to outline concrete steps, further unsettling markets. Eurozone finance ministers are expected to discuss Greece again this week.
Merkel has adopted a cautious stance on support, saying while Greece will not be left on its own, it is up to Athens to sort out its problems.
European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet last night told debt-ridden Greece to strengthen its audit procedures, saying that using unverified figures “should not have been tolerated.”
The Greek government, elected in October, caused consternation in the 16-nation eurozone when it reported a public deficit of 12.7 per cent of gross domestic product for and total debt equal to 113 per cent. This compared with EU norms of three per cent and 60 per cent, respectively.
The European Union last week expressed support for Greece’s efforts to rein in its budget deficit and total debt but stopped short of spelling out what it would do exactly to help.