The Greco-Germanic war of words continues... Having pissed off The Greeks with his "Troika" remarks, Germany's Schaeuble went on today to more ad hominum attacks by reportedly calling the Greek FinMin "foolishly naive." The Greek ambassador has 'officially' complained to "friend and ally" Germany about the personal insult. But The Greeks had the last laugh, as first Varoufakis and then Tsipras explained respectively that "Greece would never pay back its debts," and "Greece cannot pretend its debt burden is sustainable." The German response, via tabloid Bild, "there must be an end to this madness. Europe must not be made to look stupid."
As Bloomberg reports, Germany and Greece confirmed Thursday that the Greek ambassador in Berlin made an official protest late Tuesday to the German Foreign Ministry over comments made by Schaeuble.
Schaeuble and his Greek counterpart Yanis Varoufakis have traded barbs in recent weeks, with Schaeuble on Tuesday suggesting that Varoufakis needed to look more closely at an agreement that Greece signed in February: “He just has to read it. I’m willing to lend him my copy if need be.”
“It was a complaint after what he (Schaeuble) said about Mr. Varoufakis. As a minister of a country that is our friend and our ally, he cannot personally insult a colleague.”
Koutras did not specify what the insult was, but Greek media had reported that Schaeuble had said that Varoufakis was “foolishly naive.”
Schaeuble said Thursday that any suggestion he insulted Varoufakis at the meeting is “absurd.”
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And then, as Reuters reports, Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has described his country as the most bankrupt in the world and said European leaders knew all along that Athens would never repay its debts, in blunt comments that sparked a backlash in the German media on Tuesday.
A documentary about the Greek debt crisis on German public broadcaster ARD was aired on the same day euro zone finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss whether to provide Athens with further funding in exchange for delivering reforms.
"Clever people in Brussels, in Frankfurt and in Berlin knew back in May 2010 that Greece would never pay back its debts. But they acted as if Greece wasn't bankrupt, as if it just didn't have enough liquid funds," Varoufakis told the documentary.
"In this position, to give the most bankrupt of any state the biggest credit in history, like third class corrupt bankers, was a crime against humanity," said Varoufakis, according to a German translation of his comments.
Followed today by comments from Syriza leader Tsipras...
- *TSIPRAS: GREECE CAN'T PRETEND ITS DEBT BURDEN IS SUSTAINABLE
- *TSIPRAS: IT'S VITAL FOR GREECE'S PUBLIC DEBT TO BE RESTRUCTURED
The Germans are not happy... the remarks caused a stir in Germany where voters and politicians are increasingly reluctant to lend Greece money.
Bild daily splashed the comments on the front page and ran an editorial comment urging European leaders to stop providing Greece with ever more financial support.
"The Greek government is behaving as if everyone must dance to its tune. But there must be an end to this madness. Europe must not be made to look stupid," wrote a commentator.
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European 'Union' indeed.