Germany’s opposition criticises Merkel over Greece policy

Opposition Left Party in Germany blames Merkel for undermining Greek democracy

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

Germany’s main opposition party criticised Chancellor Angela Merkel’s administration on Tuesday for imposing heavy austerity measures on Greece for a third bailout programme.

The Left Party deputy leadership, Sahra Wagenknecht and Dietmar Bartsch slammed Merkel and Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble for undermining Greek democracy and forcefully imposing a bailout programme which is essentially a “fatal poisonous cocktail of austerity policies.”

“Instead of these toxic lists, which would further undermine the economy, Greece needs a relief by a debt cut, just as it was the case in Germany after the Second World War,” Wagenknecht and Bartsch added in a joint statement.

They argued that the new bailout programme was far from helpful and did not tackle any of the problematic issues of the Greece economy and called for a growth oriented programme.

“The €85 billion ($93.5 billion) third bailout program for Greece, which will again be shouldered by the European taxpayers, serves primarily for paying the old debt with new borrowing,” they said.

European leaders and the Greek government agreed on a conditional bailout programme on Monday, following 17 hours of negotiations in Brussels, in an attempt to eradicate the possibility of Greece dropping out of the eurozone.

The EU agreed for official bailout programme negotiations for Greece on the condition that the Greek government pass four key legislative bills in parliament by July 15, including the restructuring value added tax, broadening tax base, and radical reformation within the pension system and radical reduction of government spending.

Greece’s governmental assets will be privatised, creating a €50 billion ($54.1 billion) fund to be located in Athens in an effort to recapitalise Greek banks and open investment in the country’s economy.

Greek citizens overwhelmingly voted ‘’no’’ last week to reject bailout propositions from its international lenders, showing defiance that may split Europe.

Over 60 percent of Greeks have dismissed the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) bailout propositions and harsh austerity measures in a nation-wide referendum.

For millions of Greeks, the outcome was a furious response to the creditors who imposed harsh austerity measures that has led to Greece receiving two massive bailouts worth over 240 billion euros and the current situation pointing to another economic contraction. Unemployment has doubled since 2009 and sits at 25.6 percent, with pensions and benefits nearly halved over the course of the last four years.

In the meantime, Greek banks will remain closed until July 15, the Greek Finance Ministry said on Monday.

Capital controls, issued on June 29, are still in place throughout the country with ATM withdrawals limited to €60 ($66) per account daily, as immense withdrawals threatened to collapse the banking system.


TRTWorld and agencies