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Sep 12

Black Monday? Markets go into a tailspin as Germany warns of Greece bankruptcy

September 12, 2011 – ATHENS – Germany has stepped up its rhetoric against Greece, warning that the debt-laden country could default on its debts in a move that highlights the growing divisions at the heart of Europe. Philipp Roesler, Germany’s economy minister, said an “orderly default” for Greece could no longer be ruled out and branded the country’s deficit-reduction measures “insufficient.” The warning is likely to spook financial markets further and comes despite Greece yesterday announcing a fresh €2bn (£1.7bn) of budget cuts and the introduction of a country-wide real estate tax. Evangelos Venizelos, the finance minister, said the cuts and tax measure were necessary to allow Greece to meet obligations demanded by the European Union and IMF in exchange for bail-out funds. Writing in the Die Welt newspaper, Mr Roesler said: “To stabilize the euro, we must not take anything off the table in the short run. That includes as a worst-case scenario an orderly default for Greece if the necessary instruments for it are available.” He said such a default would mean “re-establishing the affected state’s ability to function, perhaps with a temporary restriction of its sovereign rights.” Mr Roesler’s comments come as Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine said finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble had ordered preparations be made for a Greek bankruptcy. The report claimed the German government is preparing for two eventualities under that scenario – Greece staying in the euro or the country exiting and reintroducing the drachma. Despite the speculation, the European Commission said it was sending a team to Athens “in the next few days” tasked with finalising the payment of a new tranche of loans for Greece by the end of the month. G7 finance ministers late on Friday vowed to “take all necessary actions to ensure the resilience of banking systems and financial markets.” However, underlining the difficulties facing German authorities, a survey showed 53pc of Germans oppose further aid for Greece and would not save the country from default should it fail to fulfil loan criteria. -Telegraph

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