With Portugal seemingly poised for a humiliating EU/IMF bailout and talks on an expansion of the stability fund, tensions within the Eurozone are on the rise. Squabbling between leaders and "Europe's big communication problem" is partly to blame.
He asked Merkel what he should do, promised to do anything she wanted, with one big exception. He would not ask for money – for a eurozone bailout with extremely tight strings attached.
According to accounts circulating in Berlin, Merkel left Sócrates to wait while she sought the views of her high-powered visitors – Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the French head of the International Monetary Fund, and Giulio Tremonti, the highly regarded Italian minister of economy who has recently been lobbying for the introduction of "Eurobonds" as part of a solution to the year-long crisis.
Merkel asked Strauss-Kahn about Sócrates' dilemma. The German-speaking IMF chief was dismissive. The Portuguese plea was pointless, he said, because Sócrates would not follow any advice he was given.