• Germany's news in English

Greece says Berlin putting EU at risk

AFP/The Local · 20 Mar 2010, 19:49

Published: 20 Mar 2010 19:11 GMT+01:00
Updated: 20 Mar 2010 19:49 GMT+01:00

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"We have struggled for years to build a strong Europe, economically stable and with social solidarity," Papandreou said at a meeting of the national council of his socialist PASOK party.

But "many forces forget the political importance of the euro, and are withdrawing the substance of the political vision of the European project, which is a joint effort to develop our economy in a calm and stable climate," he added.

"In the end this could destablise the EU, lead it in the opposite direction to that of those who inspired and created a united Europe and its common currency," warned the prime minister.

Papandreou's comments came a day after a German official indicated that Berlin was open to the possibility of the International Monetary Fund helping Greece, throwing into doubt a plan for the other 15 countries which use the euro to help Athens meet its borrowing needs.

After taking office last year Papandreou's government revealed the country's finances were in a much worse state than had been publicly disclosed, forcing it to make painful spending cuts and tax hikes to fix its public finances - triggering strikes and violent protests on the streets of


This has raised concerns whether investors will buy the Greek government's bonds, and at what price, as Athens must roll over this year some €50 billion of its more than €300 billion in debt.

"Greece will not default" and it has "the capacity to get the country out of the current crisis," Papandreou told party leaders.

European Union officials on Saturday said the bloc was ready to provide urgent help to Greece, putting extra pressure on Germany.

"The European Union has the means (to put in place) rapid and co-ordinated assistance," the European Union's financial affairs chief Olli Rehn told the Welt am Sonntag newspaper.

"The European Commission is ready to make a concrete proposal in this sense. The financial aid could come into effect quickly but would be linked to drastic obligations" on Greece, he added.

EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso on Friday urged member states to approve the creation of a financial aid mechanism for Greece to use if necessary.

Barroso was making an thinly veiled appeal to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been reticent to offer help, to approve a mechanism for offering aid to Athens when the 27 heads of state and government meet in Brussels next Thursday and Friday.

Story continues below…

The help Barroso has in mind would be "a system of coordinated bilateral loans," and as such would be compatible with EU law which bans bailout loans to any of the 16 nations, including Greece, that use the euro currency.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble said Saturday that Berlin will agree to European countries providing bilateral assistance to Athens.

"For EU aid to Greece, there is no collective instrument. In case of extreme necessity there could be coordinated bilateral aid on a voluntary basis," Schäuble told Bild am Sonntag weekly in comments to be published on Sunday.

Schäuble did not indicate if Germany would be willing to help Greece bilaterally or if it would merely not try to stand in the way of other EU nations providing aid.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

02:17 March 21, 2010 by baltog
Merkel she isn;t Brand not Kohl unfortunely. Prisoner of her sponsors (banks and spaculators) she hasn;t the capabillity to understant where are the borders between the (mark - like) monetary politics and the real black mail against euro (germany;s currency)..Greece is only the bagining,...From the other hand the conservative german majority provoke a media "operetta" against the "lasy" south stimulating all these nasty german "racial" reflexes witch The rest of europe wants to forget......Beware our allergical reactions!
03:01 March 21, 2010 by Eagle1


Greece sucks. It's people want their government to babysit them while they sit home and eat gyros. That's why Greece is in the hole that it is in. Imagine if Greece didn't have pretty islands that Germans and others want to visit on vacation. Some African counties would be in better economic shape. Greece's entire culture needs an overhaul.
03:25 March 21, 2010 by baltog

Thinks are not so simples.Open the 2010 "economist-coumtries of the world" and you ;ll see that the greek cap/person is higher that the spannish and very close to italian. This not the problem. Greece bacame target of the anti-euro speculation bacause of his internal deficite witch is SMALLER the italian. Obviously the greek economical dynamism is far weaker that italian. From the other hand a group of financial "centers" are related with a large packet of speculation "beting" in greek bankrut. The target isn;t greece and the greek gyros. The target IS THE EURO!
03:37 March 21, 2010 by peschvogel
Germany is playing Hubris and Greece is holding Germany over a barrel.
03:38 March 21, 2010 by baltog

I;m possitively surprised about your geographical and social capacity. YOU know everything!! YOU know that greeks eats gyros!! BRAVO! (I inform you that YOUare the principal consomateur de gyros when you come in Greece bacause YOU dont spend money for something better). YOU know EVERYTHING! BRAVO! BUT you dont know that the DDR became EU member 11 years after Greece when the eastgerman income was the HALF of the GREEK!
07:34 March 21, 2010 by ErickDDiaz
No more Greek Salad for me.. The Greeks should learn from the ancient ancestors and go back to some serious thinking.
09:53 March 21, 2010 by The-ex-pat
Can someone translate this thread into English please....
10:35 March 21, 2010 by gagaou
Germans focus on Germanizing Europe instead of leading it. Classic form over function. This is good news for the US. As long as Europeans are stupid enough to fight eachother, the USA will always have the time to mend it's own problems.
13:46 March 21, 2010 by Eagle1
"Germans focus on Germanizing Europe instead of leading it." (gagaou)

Be serious. What does "Germanizing" even mean? I don't see any Germans forcing sausages or spaetzle down anyone's throat or handcuffing beer steins to their wrists. Wanting to be "led" is typical socialist infantile thinking. "We can't help ourselves, so you need to help us." Do you think the French really want to be led by the Germans? Give me a break. Further, should the Germans even attempt to "lead," a bunch douchebags would come out of the woodwork and start making references to Nazism and Germany forcible attempts at dominance. Very simply, Germany is and has been working harder than its neighbors. Nothing new here.
14:23 March 21, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Greece gained entry into the eurozone by fraud. Greece maintained its fraudulent practices by hiding its massive debt with the help of shady credit default swaps (CDSs) engineered by Goldman Sachs and other investment banking predators who are now speculating against the euro that they helped to devalue. Greece is now blackmailing the EU -- and specifically Germany -- to bail it out of the mess that Greece deliberately created. The subtext here is that Greece is betting that Europe will deem it "too big to fail" because of the inevitable threat to the euro should Greece fail, thus come to the rescue. This is a zero sum game. Greece should be expelled from the eurozone until it can get its economy under control, and all the reparations rhetoric coming from Athens should be dismissed as a lame attempt at blame-shifting away from Greece's systemic corruption. Enough already!
14:58 March 21, 2010 by saar
I.e. Greeks stupidly wasted all their money and cannot pay bills but it is Germany fault because Germans don't want pay for Greece' . LOL

Only Greeks can believe such nonsense.
15:07 March 21, 2010 by wood artist
This sounds suspiciously like the children's story of the Three Little Pigs (no, not the herd that's loose in Hamburg).

Guess who built the house of straw? Guess who built the house of bricks? Guess who's running for help when the big bag wolf, also known as Economic Reality, comes calling?

I guess it proves you can't do it cheap, and then play all day, right?

15:51 March 21, 2010 by Deutschguy
Believing in a European Union is not a "utopia" and nobody ever suggested that. It is true that individual European countries will do better economically than the present system, which only benefits each country's elites. The only entities who hope, and have ever hoped, that the concept of an EU and common currency would fail are speculators and big banking houses.

Greece attained its membership fraudulently. It should not be allowed to remain in the EU until it admits that and agrees to reform its government's hiring, personnel, budgeting, and spending policies. The EU should set up a list of management priorities and reforms, with monitoring and penalties, in exchange for a bailout.

Right now you have Greek politicians lying to their people saying that it's all the fault of Big Banks (not true) or German's, what?, selfishness? That's all rubbish. The EU should sue Goldman for perpetrating this fraud.

No government employee with job security deserves a "bonus". If you don't have job security, then in the private sector you can get a bonus. That's the trade off. If you take risk and you win, you get a bonus. If you get a secure job with benefits and it's hard to fire you or lay you off, you don't get a bonus, only a salary for your work.

Greeks have made their country a laughing stock. A bail out in exchange for reforms with monitoring and penalties if you don't. End of story.
17:12 March 21, 2010 by Frenemy

as a hardworking, tax-paying German with a (sort of) government job, I find the idea of a bailout extremely distasteful (although I do believe I should get a gov't bonus for being shot at and generally threatened with violence while "at work").

However, unlike many modern Germans, the term "national interests" IS definitely in my vocabulary. Would I like to see the great European experiment succeed? Of course! But we're a long way from a "United States of Europe", and at this point in history, GERMAN national interests are best served by bailing Greece out of the financial hole that they have dug for themselves with the help of unscrupulous criminals in the finance industry.

Do I like the idea of giving my tax money to these PIIGS? No, of course not. But this isn't the time for strategically myopic "feel-good" solutions...
17:26 March 21, 2010 by Deutschguy
@Frenemy: I'm a little confused by your response. Actually, I think we agree on 90%.

Are you saying that demanding reforms as a condition for a bailout is 'myopic'? Because most loans, and certainly outright grants, normally come with a set of conditions that must be met or adhered to.

I know that the EU is a long way from a "United States of Europe". However, I do believe that it is each individual country's elite who benefits the most from the lack of integration. And, I think the majority of citizens, including Germans, benefit from an EU that can demand compliance from its member countries. Especially if it's Germany who sets the example and leads by it.

I think that if we just 'give' them a bailout with no strings, they will continue their unreformed ways and their elected officials will attempt to stir up populist anger in Greece against reform, Germany, and the EU.

Goldman aided in the fraud. Germany, each member country, and the EU should all begin filing lawsuits against them in every court, where Goldman operates.
17:31 March 21, 2010 by wxman
Can you imagine a few hundred of these guys standing up to the Persian Army? Yeah, didn't think so.
18:27 March 21, 2010 by peschvogel
Dear Deutschguy:

Actually, your facts are 100% falsch. GS has been and is currently adivisng the GERMAN government, so no they are not filing these "mass" charges like you state. And the speculators did not "cause" the harmful decisions of Greece, Spain, Italy, etc.

German is going back to the DM. All the pressure from fellow EU members, makes Berlin realize that a) They must bail out Greece b) Berlin is starting to form a currency reform back to the DM in late April c) Germany is not taking any leadership role in the EU nor Eurozone whatsoever because they are not ready.

Facts are facts. Some people just cant handle the truth.
18:39 March 21, 2010 by Frenemy

Apparently we just misunderstood each other. I COMPLETELY agree with you that the bailout must have strings. However, Greece and certain elements here in Germany seem to think that we should just give them the money (no strings) in the leftist social-utopian spirit of "european-ness" (which is naively stupid). And then there are those who misguidedly believe that we should just let the Greeks sit and rot in their Mediterranean cesspool of bankruptcy, along with Portugal, Spain and Italy (which is strategically myopic in terms of Germany's long term interests).


lol. those legendary individuals were marginalized by the Athenian "boy-lovers", to quote King Leonidas in the movie I think you're referring to.

(interestingly enough the Spartans were inevitably eliminated (in part) because the other Greeks were better at things like science and ECONOMICS) haha :-)
20:04 March 21, 2010 by Frenemy
@HerrDB: if that was directed at my last statement, I suppose you don't see the irony in once-upon-a-time economics geniuses finding themselves in the situation that Greeks currently find themselves. If you're saying "whats wrong with 'Berlin putting the EU at risk' ".... well then um nevermind, sorry...carry on! :-)
21:30 March 21, 2010 by gagaou
I just do not buy the let's punish Greeks argument when German bankers that have cost Germany billions are still walking around. I also seem to recall reading at the Local that the Swiss have some data of German public servants with accounts in Zurich. What happened with that story?

@Eagle1 Right, have you heard of Obama?
21:37 March 21, 2010 by Deutschguy
@pesch: I think you have trouble with verb tense. I did not say Germany was filing any charges. I said they (and every other EU country and organization) that was defrauded by Greece, with Goldman's help, should sue Goldman - not that they are suing Goldman.

Greece hid its true financial situation with Goldman consultants. That's where the fraud occurred. Their own budgetary recklessness is a separate issue.

Germany is the economic engine of Europe. And, other EU countries are envious of it and admire it. Currency integration is a threat to Big Banks and the elites in individual countries, not to ordinary citizens and working people. The EU needs a stronger enforcement and monitoring tool to make sure its members are behaving.
00:43 March 22, 2010 by whatzup
If the fallout from this affair is a devalued euro then the US business will take a big hit. I think the America will push the germans to bail greece out and keep the Euro stable.
00:59 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel
@whatzup: Who would a lower Euro cause harm for US business The US eport manufacturing base is less than 10%, so dont tell me its because of our "exports"? Pls explain...

@Deustchguy: The EU dream is over. Too much debt at German banks held by Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy. Germany will exit the Euro, appreciate the DM, then pay its debts at a haircut at a much lower rate. It wont harm the Euro. Otherwise, the alternative is pay for Greece, pay for Spain, also Germany cant pay out its pensions as those numbers are not counted in the debt-to-GDP statistic.

GS is not getting sued. GS is advising German Government on many different levels currently...
02:01 March 22, 2010 by Frenemy

Even if the US COULD "push" Germany to do something, why would they advocate the strengthening/stabilization of a competing trade currency??

The US could theoretically facilitate (or block) saving Greece via the IMF (since the US has a lot of clout in the IMF in terms of voting rights). That said, if you think about all the domestic economics sh!t the US is currently dealing with, obtaining the political momentum necessary to bail a foreign country out of economic hardship is gonna be ibe hell of a tough sell...
02:08 March 22, 2010 by baltog
It is amazing your autistic germandialog....what about DDR "brothers"??
09:44 March 22, 2010 by Deutschguy
@pesch: "Merkel told Papandreou in a phone conversation on Sunday that the "EU was determined to undertake everything necessary to preserve the stability of the eurozone," a statement said."

This from the lead story today does not bear out any of your assertions.

Do you work for Goldman? Would you personally benefit from dumping the Euro currency for the DM? It sure sounds like it.

And, since we all know that Goldman help perpetrate Greece's fraud to enter the Euro, why would you oppose suing them?
16:06 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel

"And, since we all know that Goldman help perpetrate Greece's fraud to enter the Euro, why would you oppose suing them? "

1. You can only sue Goldman Sachs Int'l GmbH - The fatheads in Frankfurt never worked on these deals, so good luck trying to sue people who work in other countries.

2. No, I dont work for GS.

3. You would never win because Goldman Sachs never caused Greece's deficit/budget decisions. The swaps that were used are also being used for your very own Government. GS is Berlin's biggest advisor. Look in your own backyard before you make trouble in others.

Get you facts straight before barking off. You know what they say about yelling into a forest? Germany, Italy, France, Spain all have these same swaps from GS, you turd.
16:21 March 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I think this guy DOES work for Goldman Sachs. Otherwise his attempted defense of their corrupt and indefensible practices would make no sense.

Incidentally, peschvogel, Goldman Sachs can be sued by anyone anywhere in the world who has been harmed by their practices. The venue is New York Federal District Court. I would caution you not to offer legal opinions without knowledge of the law.
17:50 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel

Your just jealous because you could never work for Goldman Sachs. Whatever it was, your grades werent good, your experience is not good, dont turn a countries public budget deficits problems and rest them on a bank. Typisch...

Berlin has these same swaps, so what you are saying is when Germany bails out greece and spain and then the euro fails and the sozial stadt is no longer, its Goldman's fault? Typisch...

I would "love" to see a NY Judge rule in favor of this foolery you suggest. That my dear Prufrock2010 is a pipe dream. Thats like me saying I want to sue someone in Germany bcause my Audi has engineering problems when the Audi wasnt even made in Germany. Ungloublisch but Typisch...
18:36 March 22, 2010 by Deutschguy
Whoa there, pesch. You seem awfully angry, as if you have some issue with the German government or maybe Germany itself.

If Goldman helped hide Greece's deficits while they were applying for membership in the EU, Goldman is culpable. And it really won't matter who was working where or which legal entities only THINK they protected by some national boundary.

All anyone would need is the signed documents by Goldman re: the swaps for the Greek government. It should be easy enough to turn a government treasury employee as "state's" evidence/ witness, in Greece of all places.

Why are you so protective of Goldman's interests? Why would you care if they did get sued. Their squirrely financial instruments based on thin air is what brought on the credit crisis and plunged the world into recession.

Sue the bastards!
19:12 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel

Not angry, just intelligent and great "gross" satisfaction debunking your "legal" theories. You certainy would make a terrible international lawyer...

Again, now you are saying that Goldman Sachs is directly the cause Germany allowed Greece into the Eurozone when "in fact" and "in writing" other countries (e.g. France, Italy) have all bent the rules to allow membership. Once agin you are wrong. : )

The "everything in writing" and "guilt until proven innocent" and "juris prudence" and "due process" laws are old and not relevant outside of your aging legal system. Actually, the international community looks down upon the German legal system as many of these laws are "over bearing" and significantly "out dated".

I couldnt gibe a rats ass if you sued your moma, but I dont think any of your littl puny lawyers could ever win against a Goldman Sachs lawyer. Goldman Sachs did not start this crisis. This proves the level of intelligence I am dealing with hear! Ungloublisch. It was all the free and easy credit provided "worldwide". Europe is just now showing its participation.

And you are so "sue" happy. They dont just "sue" people in Germany like you suggest, so your "bring down the man" theory and anarchist writing will probably get you 20 in the gulag when Russia comes for their exestentialist prophecy...Typisch Deutsche...
19:20 March 22, 2010 by magdelana
Slander seem's to be the best way hide your own mis-doing's. Greece cannot hide it's anamosity towards germany. We will see if they can play chess!
19:28 March 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Peschvogel >>

Ad hominem attacks are not only indecorous, they betray the fundamental insecurity of the attacker.

I am confident that anyone reading this thread who has a basic knowledge of English and world affairs would acknowledge that my grades were probably good enough. Having devoted many years of my life to civil litigation in the U.S. before emigrating to these shores, I have a fair knowledge of how the law works in matters such as the one under discussion. That said, you are dead wrong in your legal "analysis." A corporation may be sued, and often must be sued, in the venue of its principal place of business. In the case of Goldman Sachs, that would be New York. As the subject of the action involves diversity (that is, necessary party plaintiffs residing outside of New York), the proper forum would be the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, which has jurisdiction to adjudicate such a dispute. Such lawsuits are filed and adjudicated daily.

In my opinion, Goldman Sachs should be civilly AND criminally prosecuted for fraud for its complicity in the Greek fiasco, as well as for its complicity in the events that led to the AIG bailout in the U.S. -- which was also the result of the abuse of credit default swaps. Since the American and European regulators have failed to curb these abuses or otherwise remedy the situation, those directly and adversely affected by Goldman Sachs' conduct should avail themselves of the courts to vindicate their rights.

I am not jealous. I am merely outraged by the rapacious greed of the criminals who have manipulated the financial markets to their own advantage at the expense of taxpayers, bondholders and counterparties who are innocent of wrongdoing, regardless of their geographic location. Alles klar?
19:39 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel
Again, you are wrong, wrong, wrong You should stick to your civil "job" or whatever "coffee break" employment you call it and not make parrallels of AIG to GS. The German Government actually was rewarded 20bn from the rescue of AIG, so your "theory" or "presumptions" are wrong and would be thrown out immediately. You also answer your own question because Europe's regulatory arm should handle "such a hypothetical" and lame case, not the US District Court near City Hall. Again, you think German law applies here. It does not. And I would love to see you try to bring this to the Haugue. It sounds like your an ugly, angry and an unintelligent little man.

Sorry, you have hate towards financial markets. But guess what, they have been based on speculation and manipulation before you were born son. You sound like you are a pissed off German because you know whats happening to your steuer. Hoch! Uber! High...You also sound like whats happening to Germany's economy and The Euro is Capitalism or America's fault. Your dead wrong. Whats happening to your own house now and why its unkept is because your Euro is structually faulted. And so is the German economy... Don't throw stones, yell into forests and call other people names until you look at yourself. Schade...
19:55 March 22, 2010 by Prufrock2010
I don't think I'll dignify the foregoing unintelligible screed with a response. Freudian projection compounded by woeful ignorance has comedic value, but has no place in an otherwise rational discussion.
20:18 March 22, 2010 by Deutschguy
Cheers for Prufrock!

Prufrock for Attorney General! (or whatever it is we have here in Deutschland).

P.S. I think Pesch just needs to get laid. (but then whose standards are that low?)
20:25 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel
Was? Your a freak. Now let me try at your psychology game. Your in denial and the malaise has covered the wool over your eyes to the truth of whats happening in your own backyard so you exhibit pathological behavioral patterns thru:

Delusional Projection: as you have delusions about bringing down Goldman Sahcs and Capitalism to defend your weak earnings and poor position in society.

Denial: Typisch Deustche because of your social welfare system that puts its citizens in a "vote for me and you can be lazy and i will protect you" mode but those funds have expired.

Distortion: By exhibiting your twisted thoughts of Goldman Sachs causing the financial crisis.

Splitting: Splitting the German people and economy as "angels" and the big bad American and Capitalist ideals as "evil"

Acting out: Your first posting that GS is "wrong" and "bad" for mankind.

Fantasy: Your dream of being a trial attorney in the Germany vs. Goldman Sachs case but your only a puny civil employee.

Projection: In your own ideas, Goldman Sachs is causing Germany's current problems.

And you also show Neurotic characteristics not because you are German but:

Dissociation: because your a civil servant or whatever, you feel you should sue Goldman Sachs.

Intellectualization: Your mis-diagnosis of "Freudian projection compounded by woeful ignorance has comedic value" allows others to believe you are somewhat intelligent when this is further from the truth.

Rationalization: Where you, the attacker can never be wrong thru your words "Ad hominem attacks are not only indecorous, they betray the fundamental insecurity of the attacker."

Again, I could g on here but I think you might want to see someone about your illness. Seems like denial has triggered all of the other "mechanisms" in your mentally unstable brain. I am sure there are at least "some" good therapists in Germany? But then again, in such a culture, when one starts seeing a therapist, they are "labled" crazy by their own "mentally strong" "civil"ization.
21:46 March 22, 2010 by Feliks
Greece is a creation of lies and fabrication. That state is doomed to fail because even those treaties that it has ratified would not abide by them. It has not only to do with economics but with human rights issues as well. They are all interconnected and inter-depended in the long run. Greece is spending EU money to convert from other religions in Balkans areas into Greek Orthodoxy. Greece pays pensions to those people with a hope that they will declare such territories Byzantine empires under the Greek leadership. What a pity !!!!?
21:49 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel
22:06 March 22, 2010 by baltog
Feliks....dont forget..your madication! Aloperidole 10mg/day and tomorrow you have appoinment with your psychiatre!!!
22:18 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel
Ha, love it baltog! ; )

Yes, Feliks, remember to put the headband on tight and connect the + and - correctly when self adminstering your shock therapy. Everything will be fine. Not to worry..

That was a belly laugh. you need one of those daily... Thanks baltog.
22:35 March 22, 2010 by baltog
Thanks for the help peschvogel ! You are so right!! I forgot the + and -...it is so important......self shock therapy!!hahaha you are right lets make the hole think a little be lighter!
23:26 March 22, 2010 by peschvogel
Es tut mir sehr leid Herrn Felkis.... ; )
00:28 March 23, 2010 by Prufrock2010
Insanity has descended upon this thread. The marvels of internet anonymity draw out all kinds of strange creatures.
00:43 March 23, 2010 by peschvogel
Und Sie sind eine gross Monster....
07:57 March 23, 2010 by baltog
Help! Feliks..escape!!!! He is now in "European heavyweights pressured German Chancellor...etc" page !! and he DONT wants to take his medication!!
20:41 March 23, 2010 by peschvogel
The Euro is doomed. Look at what German economist say:

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