: However, the Merkel administration blinked in the very early hours of June 29. Some reports say she was “stunned” by the unrelenting intransigence of the ‘Latin bloc’, taking brinkmanship to new heights. François Hollande, now comfortably bedded down in the Élysée Palace - and the de facto leader of the ‘anti-German’ alliance - made his intentions clear straightaway. He declared that he had come to Brussels purely in order to get “very rapid solutions to support countries in the greatest difficulty on the markets” despite the fact that they have “made considerable efforts to restore their public finances” - like Spain and Italy.
In retaliation, Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister - a key German ally, along with the Finnish government - came out in support of Merkel and announced that the only way Spain and Italy could emerge from the crisis was to “bite the bullet” of austerity and “reform their labour markets” (ie, introduce yet more attacks on the working class) - there would be no direct help from the EU, no deviation from Plan A. But the ‘Latin bloc’ leaders would have none of it and demanded “solidarity” from Germany and insisted on the use of bailout funds to buy new Spanish and Italian bonds to ease borrowing costs at debt auctions over the summer. If not, they threatened - arms crossed - they would “block everything” unless Germany and other euro zone countries acceded to their calls for immediate help.