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Germany not seeking to 'occupy' Greece

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Germany not seeking to 'occupy' Greece
Photo: DPA
12:32 CET+01:00
Germany is not seeking to "occupy" Greece or control Europe German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told a Greek daily on Sunday, dismissing the idea as "stupid."

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.

"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.

AFP/jlb

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