Germany’s vice chancellor Gabriel has said in a radio interview that he is open to a Greek referendum on its bailout deal. He acknowledged that austerity might have caused more harm than good in Greece.
In an interview with Deutschlandfunk radio on Saturday, German Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras’ call for a popular referendum on his country’s bailout deal “could make sense,” and cautioned fellow EU leaders not to instantly dismiss the idea.
“We’d be advised not to dismiss this suggestion from Mr. Tsipras out of hand and say ‘that’s just a trick.’ But rather if the questions are clearly framed…then it could make sense,” said Gabriel, whose Social Democrats (SPD) are fighting for popularity points with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU).
Gabriel’s comments came ahead of last-minute Eurogroup talks on Saturday aimed at resolving the five-month negotiations over Greece’s debt before Athens must make a hefty repayment on its bailout funds on June 30 or risk bankruptcy.