The President of Cyprus accuses Angela Merkel
Ekathimerini reports that Olli Rehn, European Economic and Monetary Affairs Commissioner, and Elmar Brok, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU party who is close to the German leader, have received calls from the president of Cyprus who informed them that there are not enough members of the Cypriot parliament willing to support the bailout package. It seems that the government is short between 1 and 9 votes of the 29 needed to pass the bailout package and to approve the “unique solidarity levy” imposed by the European Union on the holders of bank accounts in Cyprus.
According to Mega TV, Anastasiades has said to Rehn and Brok: “When I warned you that there would not be a parliamentary majority to pass the agreement, you didn’t want to listen. Send my regards to Mrs. Merkel”.
The German officials have responded to the accusations and tried to shift the blame on Anastasiades. According to them, Merkel has told the Cypriot President that Cyprus has to negotiate the terms of the bailout package with the so-called Troika, i.e. ECB, IMF and the European Commission. From a purely formal point of view, the German excuse is valid because the German chancellor has no institutional means to force the European Commission or the ECB to accept her views on what should or shouldn’t be included in a bailout package.
From a pragmatic point of view, the German excuse is quite cynical, because it is obvious that the representatives of Germany can greatly influence the decisions of the European institutions. Germany has the strongest economy and the previous bailouts of Greece, Spain and Portugal have shown that the Troika tends to agree with the solutions proposed by the German officials.
The German chancellor had multiple opportunities to avert the disaster but either didn’t want to use them or believes that the current situation is not a disaster. In either case, Anastasiades has the moral right to split the blame for the economic consequences of the bailout with Angela Merkel.