Transcript of Statements to the Media by Angela Merkel and Strauss-Kahn in Berlin

April 28, 2010

by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dominique Strauss-Kahn, on April 28, 2010 in Berlin
Webcast of the press briefing Webcast

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: Ladies and Gentlemen, I am pleased that Managing Director Strauss-Kahn, here today for a conference in Germany that had been previously arranged, is also here to answer questions from Parliamentarians about decisions that are still to be made. We had an exchange of views, and it is perfectly clear that the negotiations by the Greek government with the European Commission and the IMF have to be accelerated. We hope that they can be completed in the next few days. On that basis, Germany will then make its own decision. It is a matter of the stability of the Eurozone as a whole, and we will not avoid our responsibility. The prerequisite, however, is for Greece to accept a demanding program so that market confidence in Greece can be restored. We both agree that market confidence in the future of Greece is the best and the most important thing to be achieved at this time. Germany will make its contribution to achieving that, in order to safeguard the euro as a whole, but Greece must make its own contribution too.

STRAUSS-KAHN: Well, I have a little to add to what the Chancellor just said. What the Greek people have to do is difficult. But I think they're committed to do it, and we are negotiating with them, along with the European Commission and the European Central Bank. I hope that this will be over rather rapidly: we need to go fast because the situation is serious, not only for Greece but for all the Euro-zone now. And the stability of the Euro-zone is really the point which is at stake. I do believe that the program which we are discussing will make things go much better over time, but it will take time. Greece will come back on track. And that is just an expression of the solidarity of the international community and the European Union to help this country do what it has to do.

It's not help for nothing. These are loans that will be repaid when Greece will be back on track. That’s why this program has to be credible. I do believe that it is a strong program, that there is a strong commitment by the European countries, a strong commitment by the IMF, a strong commitment by the Greeks. And what they have to do will restore confidence in the market and that is what we are working on.

The meeting today with different members of the German Parliament was, I think, useful. [ECB President] Jean-Claude Trichet and myself were able to give some explanations and answers to questions. Now we think that this process has to go fast.

CHANCELLOR MERKEL: I would like to thank the IMF again. I think it is good and important that the IMF is involved in these negotiations. In the year 2000, the issue was whether Greece could or could not join the euro zone. It turns out that the decision made then was not examined thoroughly enough. I think it is right for the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the IMF with their combined experience to be leading these program negotiations together. I have total confidence in these negotiations and I think they can be successfully completed.


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