Poll shows Germans back bailout for Greece, doubt will to reform


More than half of Germans back a third bailout program agreed between Greece and its creditors, but a large majority doubt Athens's willingness to implement the reforms required, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

After 17 hours of negotiation, eurozone leaders made Greece surrender much of its sovereignty to outside supervision in return for agreeing to talks on an 86 billion euro bailout to keep the near-bankrupt country in the euro.

Athens must now meet a tight timetable for enacting unpopular reforms of value-added tax, pensions, budget cuts, bankruptcy rules and an EU banking law that could be used to make big depositors take losses.

In the survey, conducted by Infratest polling agency for Germany ARD broadcaster, 52 percent of respondents said further financial support for Greece was right, while 44 percent said it was not.

Asked about the reforms and spending cuts Athens must make, 57 percent said they were adequate and 22 percent viewed them as insufficient. Only 13 percent said the conditions, which have sparked an angry backlash in Greece, were too strict.

The poll, which canvassed around 1,000 people, highlighted the high degree of mistrust felt by Germans towards the leftist government of Alexis Tsipras, which since sweeping to power at the start of the year has tried to reverse tough austerity measures they say have devastated the Greek economy.

Almost four in five German respondents said Greece could not be trusted to implement the reforms.

Many Greeks blame German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her tough-talking finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, for their country's woes. Greek newspapers on Monday brimmed with references to World War II and railed against what they see as Berlin's attempts to humiliate Greece.

Despite such criticism, nearly two thirds of Germans polled said they wanted Greece to stay in the eurozone, while about one third favored a "Grexit."

Merkel said on Monday she could recommend "with full confidence" that the Bundestag, the lower house of Germany's parliament, authorize the opening of loan negotiations once the Greek parliament has approved the entire program and passed the first laws.

Germany, Europe's largest economy, is the biggest provider of loans to Greece under its two previous bailout programs.