• Germany's news in English
 

'Germany must give Greece more help'

Published: 27 Aug 2013 14:45 GMT+02:00

An article in newspaper the Tagesspiegel on Monday argued that Greece must be given more help, either by writing off some of its debts or with a fresh bailout.

Commentator Harald Schumman argued: “The attempt to tame Greece’s debt by cutting the government budget has clearly failed.

“The Greek government has cut its budget by 24 percent since 2009. The economy has been so badly damaged that the debt burden – the ratio of debt to GDP – has increased to more than 160 percent.

“Changing tack is urgent. At the moment a third of the Greek population is living in poverty. The country doesn’t need more emergency credit but a proper programme of help which stimulates investment shifts perspectives.

“Investment will not come until the future of the euro is secure. Overcoming this insecurity must be the priority.”

BACK ON THE FRONT PAGE

Greece’s shaky finances and to what extent Germany is responsible for them, finally entered the election campaign last week when Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble admitted the country would need another rescue package from 2014, seen as marking a shift in Berlin's position.

Opponents seized on the admission by Schäuble playing up the image of the poor German taxpayer working hard to pay once again for the Greeks.

"Schäuble confirms what everyone knew," headlined the top-selling Bild daily, ever ready to defend the taxpayers of Europe's largest economy and the biggest eurozone paymaster.

For the Social Democratic Party (SPD) and Green opposition, the confession by a Merkel loyalist was a godsend.

Much of Merkel's huge popularity has been due to the perception in her country that she has managed the eurozone crisis prudently, looking after the German public purse.

For months she has enjoyed a personal poll lead of nearly 30 points over her Social Democratic rival Peer Steinbrück, who was her finance minister in a 2005-09 Grand Coalition government.

He accused the coalition government of Merkel's conservatives and the Free Democrats of having "distributed sleeping pills and trying to hide the fact that stabilising the eurozone will have a cost".

PLAYING DOWN THE COSTS

The conservatives have tried to extinguish the fire which Schäuble lit.

Schäuble insisted that the third European Union and International Monetary Fund programme of assistance for Athens would be "much smaller" than the previous two.

Greek Finance Minister Yannis Stournaras said on Sunday that if a third bailout was needed in 2014, it would be worth around €10 billion euros and would not be contingent upon new austerity measures.

Merkel, meanwhile, has said that Greece's debt and structural reforms would again be studied in 2014, as planned.

"I will certainly not weaken the incentive for Greece to implement further necessary reforms by commenting now on the outcome of a programme that is set to run for another year," she told the Tuesday edition of the Saarbrücker Zeitung.

Like Schäuble, she has insisted there will be no new 'haircut', warning that another Greek debt write-down could spark a "domino effect of uncertainty" and scare off investors in the eurozone.

DO GERMAN VOTERS CARE?

Despite the war of words, the effect on the polls has so far been limited in the election race, where the future of the eurozone has not figured prominently.

According to a poll published Sunday, the conservatives and their junior partners would get a total of 45 percent, against a combined 37 percent for the SPD and their preferred allies the Greens.

Lothar Probst, a political scientist at Bremen University warned that Greece “spells a certain risk for the conservative Merkel, because so far the Germans have felt their savings were secure.”

But Professor Michael Wohlgemuth, director of think-tank Open Europe Berlin, told The Local that even Schäuble’s comments would not make Greece and a potential bailout from German taxpayers a decisive campaign issue.

“The SPD have not got a solution either,” he said. “People may even think that the SPD would be more willing to spend more money on Greece.”

AFP/The Local/tsb

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank
Deutsche Bank acquired Postbank in 2008. Photo: DPA

Deutsche Bank to sell Postbank

Germany's biggest lender Deutsche Bank announced late Friday it was seeking to sell its Postbank subsidiary as part of a revamp to improve profitability. READ  

Far left activists attack immigration office
Photo: DPA

Far left activists attack immigration office

Far-left extremists attacked an immigration office in Leipzig early on Friday morning. It was the second targeted attack on an official building in the city in recent months. READ  

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide
Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo:DPA

Steinmeier: Armenia wasn't genocide

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier insisted on Friday that calling Armenian massacres genocide risks belittling the Holocaust, after President Joachim Gauck broke a taboo by using the word on Thursday. READ  

Schumacher Jr launches Formula race career
Mick Schumacher on test day earlier in April. Photo: DPA

Schumacher Jr launches Formula race career

Michael Schumacher's 16-year-old son starts his Formula Four career this weekend, under the pressure of living up to the famous family name of the seven-time Formula One world champion. READ  

Property of the week
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Mr Lodge

In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week

A highly sought-after location, great connection to public transport, and a very stylish interior – Does that sound good to you? Then you’ll love this week’s property! READ  

Germany's most polluted cities
The sun rises behind a coal-burning power station in Lower Saxony. Photo: DPA

Germany's most polluted cities

The Federal Environment Ministry has named the most polluted places around the country, with Stuttgart claiming the undesirable title of Germany's most polluted city. READ  

Göring's daughter fails in bid to win father's assets
Edda Göring photographed in 1942. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Göring's daughter fails in bid to win father's assets

The Bavarian government rejected on Thursday an attempt by Hermann Göring's daughter to win back her father's assets, which the government seized in 1948. READ  

Tugce accused admits to delivering fatal blow
Tugce Albayrak's death shocked Germany. Photo:DPA

Tugce accused admits to delivering fatal blow

When 22-year-old Tugce Albayrak was fatally beaten in a MacDonald's car park in November 2014, Germany was left in a state of shock. On the first day of her attacker's trial he admits to 'boxing her on the ear.' READ  

Prosecutors want info on spies' help to US
Gerhard Schindler, head of the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany's foreign intelligence agency. Photo: DPA

Prosecutors want info on spies' help to US

Federal prosecutors have asked for access on files from the Bundestag (German parliament) inquiry into mass surveillance, after news that German spies helped the US eavesdrop on European leaders and businesses. READ  

Greece bailout
Merkel and Tsipras tight-lipped on Brussels talks
Chancellor Merkel and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras. Photo:DPA

Merkel and Tsipras tight-lipped on Brussels talks

Chancellor Merkel and Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras met in Brussles on Thursday in what the Chancellor described as “constructive” talks. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
German beer day: take the tour
Features
Off to Norway at 18 km/hour
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Gallery
The smileys Germans love to text
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
National
Expats face Monday deadline to register to vote for UK election
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
VIDEO: Mario Draghi suffers anti-ECB confetti attack
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
Germanwings co-pilot 'searched suicide info'
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
Can the 'nightmare' of a pilot downing a plane be prevented?
National
LIVE: Co-pilot suspected of crashing plane
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
National
Last-minute drama of Germany's Eurovision 2015 entry
National
German photographer takes world's top prize
Features
Meet the woman getting Germans to drink more – and better – beer
Gallery
Get inspired for International Women's Day with German heroes
Green party proposes first-ever cannabis legalization plan
Gallery
In pictures: Germany's seven most livable cities
National
Singapore canes Germans for train graffiti
Politics
Surprise! Germans love feeling like they run the EU
Politics
Anger over plan to show women what men earn
Travel
Munich tram fans bicker over new bell
Features
Kafka: puzzling translators 100 years on
Business & Money
France or Germany: Which country really is the best country to work in?
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

7,216
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd