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Greeks throw coffee and eggs at German consul

The Local · 15 Nov 2012, 15:03

Published: 15 Nov 2012 12:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 15 Nov 2012 15:03 GMT+01:00

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Consul Wolfgang Hoelscher-Obermaier was speaking at a conference on Greek-German trade initiatives, police said, when he was heckled and targeted.

Television footage showed a senior officer escorting the diplomat behind lines of riot police.

Hoelscher-Obermaier later said he had lost his glasses in the fracas. "Stand united to kick out the Nazis," some protesters chanted as loudspeakers erected by protest organisers blared a Nazi military marching song.

Other members of the German delegation were pelted with eggs by the group that numbered around 300 people, according to police.

Officers moved in to extricate the consul from the crowd, but they made no arrests and nobody was injured in the incident, police said.

The incident came a day after German deputy labour minister Hans-Joachim Fuchtel said that three Greek municipal staffers were required to complete tasks accomplished by a single German.

"Studies show that 3,000 employees are required in Greece for local administration work carried out by 1,000 people in Germany," Fuchtel said.

Fuchtel is a personal envoy of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, tasked with working with Greek officials to streamline the operation of local councils.

On Thursday, the consul said there had been a "misunderstanding" over his comments.

"It was a misunderstanding that was resolved. I feel more pro-Greek than ever," Hoelscher-Obermaier later told reporters.

Greece has been pressed by its international creditors, the EU and the International Monetary Fund, to cut thousands of jobs from its cumbersome civil service to earn bailout loans.

Story continues below…

Some 30,000 people protested in Athens last month when Merkel visited Greece. Greek views on Germany, already tainted by the memory of a brutal occupation by Nazi forces during World War II, have been further strained by the eurozone crisis.

Many Greeks see Germany at the forefront of pressure for tough austerity reforms that have plunged the economy into the worst recession witnessed in postwar Europe.

German officials have for their part accused Greece of dragging its feet on reforms and wasting precious time bought by EU-IMF loans, to which Berlin in a major contributor.

AFP/The Local/jcw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

14:25 November 15, 2012 by raandy
Austerity for the public is a bitter pill, but it isn't the Germans fault.
15:19 November 15, 2012 by manosd73


1 EURO=340,75 DRACHMAS!!

With the Euro you managed to devalue your Deutche mark...without printing Deutche marks!!!

Germany=cheap Deutche mark Greece=expensive Drachma!!

..And that is Germanys fault raandy!!(aND IM NOT SAYING THAT GREECE IS WITHOUT ( MANY) SINS EITHER...)
15:23 November 15, 2012 by raandy
Greece are you kidding me! corruption , creative accounting, lying politicians lazy people,early retirement. AND you did it to yourself you delt the play, you jumped in with your phony balance sheet so shut and take you due.,
15:29 November 15, 2012 by Alofat

What are you smoking? 1 DEM was worth 174,222709 GRD back in 2002.
15:37 November 15, 2012 by Redwing
On 18th October 1940 Italy invaded Greece, clearing a path for Germany's invasion on 6th April 1941. Have the Italians ever paid reparations?

Some years ago I spent a holiday in Greece and swore never to go there again. I found the people surly and unhelpful.

How convenient for the Greeks to blame someone else for their shortcomings and ills.
15:44 November 15, 2012 by smart2012
Couple of points:

1. Redwing: Italians did not steel tons of golds from greece and brought it to Germany

2. Raandy, all of this was knowns when Verkel imposed Greece to buy submarines from Thyssenkrup, when Deutsche and Commerzbank bank invested tons of money in Greek BOND, and when Siemens signed a contract for Greek trains (thanks to Verkelö help again)...

And to Hoelscher-Obermaier: compare also the salaries in Germany and Greece. If in Germany the guy earns 2000 Euros, in Greece will earn 1000 Euros...

Anyway, Germany and Verkel are unfortunately leading EU to a disaster.. But glad that crisis has hit Germany too... You get was u deserve :-)
16:29 November 15, 2012 by TheCrownPrince
As long as the Greeks have coffee and eggs to spare... they should throw that stuff at their own corrupt politicians, who caused the mess in the first place. Then they should throw hot coffee and eggs at themselves, for they elected their corrupt politicians. The important thing is that all this is Germanys fault, as usual. Will there be an apology from Greek officials, I wonder? But no, it was only one of those Nazis who are backing Greece with guarantees under huge risks for their own wealth.
16:49 November 15, 2012 by TRJ
Read the sections on Greece in Michael Lewis's book Boomerang. Very interesting reading. It helps many of us outsiders understand how the Greek culture created this mess as well as how some Greeks tried to do their part to keep it from happening. However, things will never change there without a fundamental change in the character of the people-- assuming Boomerang is correct. And Fuchtel is correct- one German's productivity equals the productivity of three Greek civil servants. It is harsh to say and sounds like a lot of generalizations, but it seems (unfortunately) to be dead-on accurate.
17:05 November 15, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ smart2012

"Merkel imposed Greece to buy submarines from Thyssenkrup" - really? How exactly did she do that? I am pretty sure you have solid proof in this regard, right?

"compare also the salaries in Germany and Greece. If in Germany the guy earns 2000 Euros, in Greece will earn 1000 Euros..." - yes, and in Bulgaria he would earn 400 Euros. But it does not take 5 people to do the work of one.

"Stand united to kick out the Nazis" - did the protesters refer to the Greek mobs attacking legal immigrants in Greece?

I feel sorry for Mr. Hoelscher-Obermaier that he had to go through this.
17:42 November 15, 2012 by smart2012
@ChrisRea, long time not hearing from you. Maybe cause Germany is sinking too (against your predictions)? :-)


1. see below.. If u do not believe she imposed it, however the first think Germany could ask Greece to cut its defence costs. Why do not they do it???? LOL


2. I go often to East Europe unfortunately for you. Low efficiency and demotivation in public offices is typical, as salaries are crap..

I would not feel sorry for this guy, he is a politician and he should not be speaking like BILD. But it seeems all Verkel's friends are the same..
17:45 November 15, 2012 by manosd73



From wiki:

On 31 December 1998, the European Central Bank (ECB) fixed the irrevocable exchange rate, effective 1 January 1999, for German mark to euros as DM 1.95583 = €1.

Three modern Greek currencies, the first introduced in 1832 and the last replaced by the euro in 2001 (at the rate of 340.750 drachma to the euro). The euro did not begin circulating until 2002 but the exchange rate was fixed on 19 June 2000, with legal introduction of the euro taking place in January 2002.
19:23 November 15, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ manosd73:

The Germans didn't force the Greek to become a member of the Eurozone - it was their own decision.
20:03 November 15, 2012 by Eastard
Can anyone show me how Germany forced Greece to end up as they have at any time in the past 50 years...?

Can anyone tell me why people that loan money to debtors with a poor reputation for repaying have no say in the terms of the loan...?

Can anyone tell me why anyone would loan any money to a country who routinely state they have no intention to repay anything.... amidst declaring $500 billion euros of natural gas..?
20:19 November 15, 2012 by PNWDev

Do you have any idea how household income/ labor rates are calculated? Yes, that is a rhetorical question because I clearly recognize you do not. No person trained, or even quasi-trained, in economics would ever question the absence of balance in labor rates between Germany and Greece.

Your understanding of economics is that of a tabloid skill-set. There is no correlation between a common-currency and the drivers we use to gauge household income/ labor rates. Please tell me how low efficiency and demotivation in public offices are two of the components we use to calculate labor rates? And yes, this too is a rhetorical question.
20:25 November 15, 2012 by Englishted

I have also holidayed in Greece and found the people friendly and helpful ,I would advice anyone except (the Germans at the moment )to go and enjoy a wonderful country .

And please commemorators don't forget it wasn't the ones who are suffering around the globe who started this it was the ones who are still there and have not changed or been brought to book that should fall under a ran of coffee and eggs (that is a youthanism for other things don't you know)
20:27 November 15, 2012 by smart2012
Pnwdev, u r correct, life in Greece is cheaper, and i know that germans working in public offices cannot afford a great life. however a salary of a manager in an American company in Greece will be not so different than the salary of a German in the same american company. That is where the lower motivation gets in.
20:46 November 15, 2012 by PNWDev

How selective. When speaking of Greece, Portugal, and Spain, when you are over-leveraged as a family, you are elevating personal economic risk, and when you elevate personal economic risk, you are compounding national economic risk. When you vote for entitlement polices that far exceed both productivity and revenue rates over any statistically measured period ­ 10, 15, or even 20 years, you are a contributor to the problem.
20:46 November 15, 2012 by manosd73

Germany and France turned a blind eye, even though they knew,that Greece wasnt ready to enter the Eurozone...they needed new customers to sell their(cheaper with the Euro)products...
23:57 November 15, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ smart2012 #10

OK, so actually you cannot back your statement regarding a submarines from Thyssenkrup. Nothing new.

"Low efficiency and demotivation in public offices is typical, as salaries are crap.." - sure, we both agree on that (with some exceptions, like renewing your driving licence in Romania in 2 hours). Point is, even if salaries are much higher in Greece than in Bulgaria or Romania, efficiency is much lower.

"I would not feel sorry for this guy, he is a politician and he should not be speaking like BILD" - what exactly did he say that you found similar to Bild style? The only quote in this article is: "It was a misunderstanding that was resolved. I feel more pro-Greek than ever."
09:51 November 16, 2012 by KeenObserver
I am an asian trying to plan a holiday in Europe seeing the currency is currently weak. One of the country me and my husband has been keen to visit is Santorini and the beautiful islands. But I do have a problem. From what is happening on the streets, I simply don´t understand why are greeks so andamant and putting blame on Germany or Merkel in that matter? I thought, Greece was a willing party to join EU back then despite playing with their numbers to qualify. And it is democracy at play and Greek people had the choice. I also don´t understand why Greek people are taking to the streets where infact, they should be working towards recovering their country. A lot of good examples are found after WW2. No short cut but pure hard work. COMPLAIN does not help. Look at the american´s mentality. Their country is in deep depth just like Greece but learn from them. Ít hurts when someone tells you the Germans need only 1 person to do 3 persons job. I know, it also happens in my country but that is the TRUTH. Truth hurts and it is only with acknowledgement that things will turn around, not DEFY IT because we live in global world now. Have to be competitive!!! I´ve read news about rich Greeks not paying due taxes. Wow! What an amazing country with not much export, live well and yet not have good income for the country ... my personal message is, it is your choice how you play a role here. Blaming others does not work ...

As for me, I am utterly turned off by their character. It is only recently that I am seeing its true colours so NO GREECE HOLIDAY for me. Thanks for the invite anyway to those that are not German (someone mentioned it above) ...
10:22 November 16, 2012 by Peepopaapo
@ manosd73:

Well, as far as I know the Greek actually cheated into the Eurozone by showing wrong figures - either they did that on purpose or they simply were not able to give any right figures what wouldn't surprise me when you take into consideration that the Greek didn't even know how many civil cervants they actually employed.

But yes, you are right - it was a huge mistake that the Germans, the French et al. let Greece become a member of the Eurozone - a small and insignificant country now causing big problems.

But once again: Neither did the Germans and French force the Greek to become a member of the Eurozone nor did they force them to buy their products - it was their very own decision.
10:26 November 16, 2012 by AlexR
Four days ago there was a riot in Italy over Germany¦#39;s Labour Minister visit with around 3,000 anti-austerity protesters throwing rocks and bottles and the police retaliating with teargas (h--p://bit.ly/TAjx5F)

A day later, hundreds of thousands demonstrators in Portugal greeted Merkel's visit in Lisbon with angry protests and with posters depicting her as a puppetmaster and as a female Hitler (h--p://bit.ly/RA19tI)

The Local didn't report any of the above incidents. Instead they promptly reported the yesterday's relatively minor incident in Greece. And I wonder why. Is it a few hundreds Greeks protesting against the German consul with coffee and eggs more important news story than hundreds of thousands Portuguese protesting against the German chancellor with Nazi posters or thousands of Italians protesting against the German Labour Minister, and wannabe next chancellor, with rocks and bottles?

Of course it isn't. Then why The Local constantly reports even the minor events in Greece while constantly omits to report much more important incidents of the same nature in Italy, Portugal and Spain?

Is it because they want to make us believe that those incidents are only isolated in Greece and not in the rest of the PIIGS nations, in order to boost their comments section with ignorant comments full of stereotypes and generalizations about Greece and the Greeks, therefore ignoring the real culprits of the Eurozone crisis?

P.S. And of course, The Local has failed to report in its current story that there weren¦#39;t only the Greeks who protested but also Germans, including a German lawmaker. Here is the same story from the Wall Street Journal (h--p://on.wsj.com/TLYmxk)
10:54 November 16, 2012 by Steviegee
hey guys and gals, hate to pee on your parade, but this is only the tip of the iceberg....there is a whole lot more to come, so watch this space and then you will be able to really let loose on your comments and views.
11:55 November 16, 2012 by raandy
Steviegee now you are not only insightful, you are also clairvoyant, thanks for the tip
12:15 November 16, 2012 by chris berlin
@ AlexR: What the hell do you expect? The Local only copies a few reports and sums them up. If you wanna get informed change the newspaper - The Local or Bild is not so much difference - both are no valid sources!

Reports of The Local seem also one-sinded in a way that it loves to report about Nazis in Germany. There is so much more going on in Germany and about Germany than a bunch of Nazis and successfull anti-Merkel populism in Southern Europe (I am against austerity too but to blame Merkel for the whole situation is totally out of context but people and media love simple solutions and pick here as the scapegoat).

If I would only read The Local and would not know Germany better I would think Germnay is full of Nazis and the rest of the world hates Germany/Merkel- unless those who flock there to get a job. I am glad that The Local is only read by a very tiny group of peope - and a few even do not like to read the articles but post the same thing in various ways refering to an allegedly "smart" guy ;)
12:22 November 16, 2012 by Steviegee
thank again raandy, you are most kind, the Clairvoyance thing runs in the family.
13:55 November 16, 2012 by Anny One again
Interesting ! Today`s most commented articles

Greeks throw coffee and eggs at German consul # 26 commends

US mag prints list of 'top 10 German generals' # 45 commends

but is completely gone from the lists,even on the most popular section

how come?
16:11 November 16, 2012 by BobbyBaxter
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
18:30 November 16, 2012 by manosd73
Bobby= M@l@k@s.....
22:54 November 16, 2012 by TrullyAmazed

10:09 November 17, 2012 by Englishted

Well thank you for not beating about the bush ,say what you mean, and as some of us get older thank you for shouting .

What would the stoics of that democracy have made of your comment?
20:10 November 17, 2012 by TrullyAmazed
Right! Since few even know who the Stoicoi have been, let me just tell you what the Greeks said about themeselves 2500 years ago and it became true during, WW2:


Read history, understand global economics and then argue about the GREEKS!
10:41 November 18, 2012 by Landmine
What are the Germans bitching about, the Consul got a free breakfast!
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