24 JUN 2011
The euro zone's leaders are seeing their political choices narrow
EVANGELOS VENIZELOS is a big man, built more like a rugby forward than a bookish finance minister. As the politician now charged with fixing Greece’s broken finances, he will need to muster all his strength. On his first outing to meet European colleagues in Luxembourg this week he found himself like a prop pinned under a ruck, with studs tearing into his flesh.
The inexperienced Mr Venizelos left himself dangerously exposed. He tried to reopen the austerity and labour-reform package, particularly the pace of privatisation, that is a condition for receiving more bail-out money and saving Greece from default. He suggested the parliament might not meet a deadline to approve the measures by the end of the month. Worst of all, Mr Venizelos insinuated that other Europeans had no choice but to save his country because a default would be more painful for the euro zone than for Greece. Boots and fists were soon flying.
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