BBC World Service

Angela Merkel staying committed to Greece

Marketplace Contributor May 17, 2012

David Brancaccio: German Chancellor Angela Merkel is sending the message that she is committed to keeping Greece in the eurozone. In an interview with CNBC, Merkel says that she is open to stimulus programs. Now, that could be seen as a shift at at a time Greeks are blaming austerity imposed by Europe for their woes.

The BBC’s Steve Evans joins us from Berlin. Good morning Steve.

Steve Evans: Good morning.

Brancaccio: Steve, a change of heart for, arguably, the most powerful politician in Europe, do you suppose?

Evans: A change of heart; a change of policy — I don’t think so. At the end of it all, she believes that you spend what you get in revenue. Having said all that, she can see the situation in Greece and she’s got a new president in France who was elected by voters who want growth. What I think will happen will be a bit more spending in Germany; but all the indications are that the eurozone crisis is getting worse, and people are talking much more loudly about the exit of Greece. And that would be very messy indeed.

Brancaccio: So cautious talk about not quite as much austerity you don’t think would be enough to keep Greece in the eurozone alone?

Evans: No. They’ve got a recession and some; the situation is getting worse. And any kind of reflation of the German economy or new spending projects in Brussels are not going to transform that situation. They would take far too long — even if they were big enough. And you can’t have them big enough without breaking that strict austerity rule that chancellor Merkel believes in so strongly. All the sense in Europe now is of a situation which is moving very, very fast away from policy makers.

Brancaccio: The BBC’s Steven Evans in Berlin. Thank you very much.

Evans: You’re welcome.

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