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Germany not seeking to 'occupy' Greece

The Local · 11 Mar 2012, 12:32

Published: 11 Mar 2012 12:32 GMT+01:00

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Schäuble told Greek readers Berlin is "ready to do whatever is asked" to help a tough economic overhaul applied in the struggling nation under close EU-IMF supervision. This includes sending German tax experts to improve Athens' poor revenue collection.

"We are ready to do whatever is asked," the German minister told To Vima daily in comments translated into Greek.

"If Greece wants us to send German tax officials under an international programme to strengthen the Greek tax system, we are ready to do it."

However, the minister rejected the idea that Germany wants control in Europe.

"But we do not want to be obtrusive. We do not want anyone to believe that we intend to place Greece under our occupation, that is one of the stupidest accusations I have ever read," he said.

Schäuble added that Berlin has "neither the inclination nor the strength to impose rule" over Europe, "the conclusion that we want to dominate in Europe is, honestly, sheer nonsense," he said.

Germany, as Europe's economic powerhouse, was the top European contributor to the €110 billion EU-IMF loan that averted a Greek bankruptcy in 2010.

It will also be a top contributor to the second €130 billion Eurozone bailout set up to finish the job.

Schäuble warned that even this may not be enough in the long run, an admission already made to German lawmakers last month.

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"Nobody can rule out that Greece will not need a third package, I spoke in parliament about that completely frankly," he said.

"But now is not the time to discuss a third package, it is the time to implement the second package," he said.


The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

13:55 March 11, 2012 by TheCrownPrince
Just because (West-)Germany has already restructured one rotten country (East Germany) with billions and billions of Euro this doesn't mean they are keen to make a habit out of it. Occupy Greece? Laughable idea. I wouldn't want the country as a gift.
16:21 March 11, 2012 by derExDeutsche

If you wouldn't want it as a gift, why do you suppose you are paying for it? If They are not bailing Greece out for sake of the German controlled Union, then why? not to keep these debtor countries under THEIR sphere of ever increasing influence? Last I checked, elected leaders were Optional in Europe. Laughable? To install Presidents, to write another countries budget and tax code? To send its own German Tax goons? It is no secret that Germany has benefited extraordinarily from the advent of the Euro. Everyone else, not so much. But, NOoo, Germnay doesn't want to occupy Greece, NOoo.. Why would it want to do that? Ha. yes pretty 'Stupid' indeed.
16:21 March 11, 2012 by luckylongshot
Germany taking over Greece makes as much sense as buying a bankrupt company that is only going to continue to lose money. Noone would think this is a good idea. So what is going on then?

In the last six months Germany has passed legislation making it possible for it to leave the Euro and reinstated its special market stabilisation funds providing a backup facility for German banks. This appears to be plan B. My guess is that the Germans would not be upset if Greece (and France!) voted against austerity in coming months as that would likely give Germany the opportunity to exit the Euro. The last thing they are interested in is taking control of Greece.
17:00 March 11, 2012 by derExDeutsche

'makes as much sense as buying a bankrupt company that is only going to continue to lose money.'

How do you know if 'in the right hands' it would continue to lose money? do you think a company has ever tried to drive another company toward bankruptcy in a bid to for something called a 'hostile takeover'? To take 'occupy' of that companies finances and board.
19:00 March 11, 2012 by siddal
"the minister rejected the idea that Germany wants control in Europe"

"We do not want anyone to believe that we intend to place Greece under our occupation"

"that we want to dominate in Europe is, honestly, sheer nonsense"

get your denials in early, Wolfie
21:15 March 11, 2012 by hereward
You occupied it before,only this time you will not have to shoot any-one,well not many anyway,this guy looks incredibly shifty to me,still he only lies when his lips are moving.
21:23 March 11, 2012 by PaoloSarpi
Why would anyone doubt Mr Schäuble? Because the words don't match the results. Greece is not a bankrupt company, it's a (formerly) sovereign nation with natural resources, beautiful beaches and Islands (which I believe certain German politicians have said they would take for cash?). It's no secret that Germans have enjoyed holidaying in Greece throughout history. Most of Greece's natural resources are now in the hands of the EU... or if we're honest, GERMANY. The German run EU has destroyed the private economy in Greece (and is working on other countries) with ever higher taxes, fees, etc. This has insured the only way for average Greeks to survive is on the black market. To make it worse, any attempt at "on the books" economic growth will now be taxed/strangled out of existence before it can start. Of course Greeks see a German plot to increase their dominance (I see it as an unintended benefit to Germany). Without cheating, Greeks would starve, a small matter to a lot of Germans I speak with, who love the idea of "punishment"... but it's not a small matter to Greeks. It's laughable that you would send "tax experts", to Greece to "help", when in fact that's already a large part of the problem. And lets get to the big issue which destroys any argument that Germans present as to their good intentions. German politicians lost their minds over the idea of a referendum on the subject of bailouts (which might have gone your way and given you some cover) and then you appointed Papademos, who worked with Goldman Sachs to cook the books to get Greece into the EU. Germany violated their beloved EU law (at least beloved until they don't like it) in doing this. There's no legal way that Germany could have subverted democracy in Greece... or anywhere else. That alone is reason to discount continual German theatrics of shock and dismay. There are only two answers here. Mr Schäuble is lying, or incompetent. I suspect it's both and Germany will not occupy Greece and the EU, the primary reason for Germany's economic success, will be destroyed.
23:19 March 11, 2012 by justanotherhuman
So Germany now is the USA of Europe. Damned if you do, damned if you don't. Most Germans I know of are not interested in 'overtaking' other countries at all. Rather, it's quite the opposite. They don't want to have anything to do with Greece anymore. It's quite understandable really, because each time their government shells out billions of their tax euros, they've been bashed left to right and accused for the actions of their great-grand father a few decades ago. Come on, you all seriously think they haven't been drilled enough about their own history? You really believe that they think it's a 'great idea' to do it again? Get real!!!
00:13 March 12, 2012 by PaoloSarpi
"They don't want to have anything to do with Greece anymore."

That's strange because all Greeks I know want the same thing. You'd think they could come to a meeting of minds? Maybe after the German Appointed "Greek Prime Minister" is gone that can happen? As for German history, absolute power corrupts. And yes, they are the USA of the EU, right down to the whinging about good intentions gone wrong.
09:01 March 12, 2012 by siba
People get a life. Germany is certainly one of the least patriotric and power-focused nations in the world. Germany is just used to distract from its own problems, the typical scapegoat phenomenon...

Germany has developped a strong sense of solidartiy and its poltical system is one of the least corrupt one in the world where not machos just serve their own interests.

People get a life and stop you persecution complex!!!!
09:31 March 12, 2012 by Michael R
@ justanotherhuman and Siba...BRILLIANT comments.

Some of the other commentaries on here are die hard German haters that either have never lived here for any length of time or are just happy to only ever equate Germany with WW2. Shallow thinking and a cheap shot to be sure.

They definitely need to GET A LIFE !
11:52 March 12, 2012 by Celeon
Rediculous. Putting guards in front of an empty, burned down bank out of fear someone may be trying to rob it.

:-D How delusional can people be?

If Switzerland would be paranoic about someone conquering them to steal their wealth, that would at least have trace of logic in it. But Donald Trump buying a gun to rob the next homeless he can find? Psychologist must be a profitable job in Greece these days.
16:38 March 16, 2012 by Bruno53
I agree. Anyway, the last time Germans did it, Greeks gave them a hard time in the early 1940s.
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