German politicians react to leaked Berlin proposal

Several German officials on Monday reacted to a leaked proposal by the Berlin government for an EU commissioner to oversee Greece's fiscal policy.

“Berlin should be more cautious with what it suggests,” Markus Ferber, a Christian Democrat (CSU) lawmaker in the European Parliament told Die Welt daily in an interview on Monday.

“You must not demand from others something that you would not be willing to accept for yourself,” he added.

In the interview, Ferber said Germany's Constitutional Court has already ruled that the European Union's Lisbon treaty does not restrict the German parliament's control over the budget, which he described as a “fundamental element of national sovereignty.”

The government in Athens reacted strongly over the weekend to a leaked German document proposing a commissioner to have veto powers over Greece’s budget decisions if it failed to meet demands set by foreign creditors.

“Given the disappointing compliance so far, Greece has to accept shifting budgetary sovereignty to the European level for a certain period of time,” the paper said. Under the plan, Athens would also legally commit itself to paying its EU-IMF loans before spending cash on public expenditure.

Despite the backlash in Athens, the German plan received open backing from a high-ranking official in Berlin.

“We need more leadership and monitoring in implementing the course of reform (in Greece),” German Economy Minister, and vice chancellor, Philipp Roesler said in an interview with Bild newspaper published on Monday.

Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, an MEP for Germany's Liberal Democrats (FDP), on Monday said that appointing a commissioner to make sure Greece pays its debts instead of making investments to spur economic growth makes no political or economic sense.

Criticism also came from Sigmar Gabriel, chairman of Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), who said that introducing austerity measures alone will not be enough to rescue the eurozone's troubled economies.

“Anyone who thinks we can win back the economies of southern Europe exclusively through austerity measures is deluding himself.”

EU chiefs gather for their first summit of 2012 Monday as they continue their efforts to control the euro area’s debt crisis. Greek Prime Minister Lucas Papademos has yet to finalize a debt deal that could see creditors lose more than 50 percent of the net-present value of the country’s debt.


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