— POLITICO Europe (@POLITICOEurope) 15 juni 2017
With all the talks about Brexit, Trump and the EU refugee quotum, one could tend to forget the €300 billion debt disaster that is Greece, is still very much in play. And today is another important day in the debt negotiations, for the Eurogroup will decide if Greece will receive another batch of money from the fund. Tensions are running high and all eyes are on German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble. And although the European Commission is optimistic, the Greeks aren’t, for they don’t trust Schäuble for one bit.
And although the European Commission is optimistic, the Greeks aren’t, for they don’t trust Schäuble for one bit.
Schäuble, as wel as Merkel, are known to be tough on other Euro countries. And they have to be. The German voter is breathing down their necks; the German elections will be held in September. And the German voter does not appreciate it when money is (again) poured into Greece, or when their debts are partly cleared.
The main issue now is debt relief for the Greeks. Schäuble does not want to commit to that, but the International Monetary Fund (IMF) does. They say the latest stimulus package will only work in combination with debt relief.
Greek Economy Minister Dimitri Papadimitriou claims Schäuble is acting dishonest and disingenuous. The Greeks are stating they had major reforms, and were proud of their 4.2 % GDP surplus in 2016, although the Eurozone demanded only 3,7 %. Papadimitriou told Die Welt:
“Schäuble recognises our reforms, and said we complied with the requirements (…) then all of a sudden he changed his mind. I never met the man, so I do not want to sound rude, but to me, this behaviour is dishonest (…) Greece is being made a sacrificial lamb.”
Papadimitriou even mentioned World War 2, saying that Schäuble:
“Should tell his voters that Greece has to grow. And he can also tell them that Germany received debt relief after the Second World War.”
Schäuble’s spokesman replied calmly stating:
“the Minister aims for a realistic and sustainable deal, but was unable to ensure the Greeks of debt relief.”