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“The Greek crisis is turning into a perilous trial for the eurozone and the European Union,” reports La Tribune, headlining with the widening “Greek rift” between Paris and Berlin. The latest knockback: Angela Merkel’s reaction to the ultimatum laid down by Greek prime minister Georges Papandreou. If Europeans haven’t come up with a solution to the Greek problem by 2 April, Athens will turn to the IMF for deliverance. But “the idea is alluring to Angela Merkel because it would obviate the need for European aid, the bulk of which would be shouldered by Germany”, explains the daily. So that would satisfy her electorate. Furthermore, “by refusing to untie the purse strings, Angela Merkel is forcing Sarkozy to be more receptive to the German vision of economic and monetary union”.

Last week French finance minister Christine Lagarde had brushed aside the idea of a “European Monetary Fund”, a tougher version of the Stability Pact, put forward by her German opposite number, Wolfgang Schäuble. “The IMF option that Berlin is keeping on the table is raising the stakes of economic governance…and mounting the pressure on Paris, which has been conspicuously silent on the subject these past few days,” concludes La Tribune.