Germany gave its most explicit warning yet that Greece could eventually leave the euro as European Union officials try to hammer out a last-minute deal over bailout funds.
?The shadow of a Greek exit from the euro zone is becoming increasingly perceptible,? German Economy Minister and Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel wrote in a Bild newspaper opinion column to be published on Monday. ?Greece?s game theorists are gambling the future of their country. And Europe?s too.?
Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras sent a delegation to Brussels for weekend talks on proposals to close differences on pensions, taxes and a primary surplus target. With positions hardening, the talks are European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker?s last attempt to reach a compromise, according to an EU official, who asked not to be identified.
European leaders from German Chancellor Angela Merkel to EU President Donald Tusk have voiced growing exasperation with Greece?s brinkmanship that has pushed Europe?s most-indebted country to the edge of insolvency.
The swipe at Tsipras?s government, coming from one of the more conciliatory voices toward Greece among Germany?s politicians, underlines the hardening of attitudes in Berlin and elsewhere the longer the standoff drags on. In February, just after Tsipras was elected, Gabriel stressed the need for dialogue with Greece rather than rejection of the government?s proposals. Gabriel is also the head of Germany?s Social Democratic Party.
Representatives of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank and the European Stability Mechanism are waiting in the wings to join the negotiations if progress is made between Greece?s envoy and Juncker?s chief of staff. The aim is to reach a deal before markets open on Monday, the EU official said.