Saturday, May 5, 2012

Europe braces for Greek election

ATHENS — Not only Greece but also Europe braced on Saturday for an election here that polls indicate will fail to produce a clear winner, and which markets worry will plunge the eurozone into fresh turmoil.

In comments widely quoted by Greek newspapers on the eve of Sunday's vote, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said that if Greece's new government deviated from its commitments the country would have to "bear the consequences."

"Membership of the European Union is voluntary," the minister from the eurozone's chief contributor to Greece's 240 billion euros ($314.0 billion) in bailouts and the main proponent of European belt-tightening was quoted as saying.

Greece has written off a third of its debts, is in its fifth year running of recession, one in five workers is unemployed, its banks are in a precarious position and pensions and salaries have been slashed by up to 40 percent. Read More