Tsipras: “There is no going back to austerity
Greece will not accept any return to austerity, leftist Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras said on Monday.
“The key for an honorable compromise (with the EU/IMF creditors) is to recognize that the previous policy of extreme austerity has failed, not only in Greece, but in the whole of Europe," Tsipras told daily Ethnos in an interview. He also mentioned to the bailout policies of the last five years that had led to an unparalleled stagnation and a vast humanitarian crisis.
Greece's left-wing government won elections in January on a pledge to roll back budget rigor and renegotiate the terms of a 240 billion euro bailout. However, it has faced resistance from euro zone partners who are unwilling to offer major compromises. The hardening of the German line is significant because the country is the biggest contributor to Greece’s 240 billion-euro ($253 billion) twin bailouts and the chief proponent of budget cuts and reforms in return for aid. Greek relations with Germany have deteriorated in recent years because of the financial crisis, with Germany being one of the big contributors to the eurozone bailout that began in 2010
Greece aims to save €200m (£140m) through public spending cuts, as well as streamlining bureaucracy and cracking down on tax evasion. It needs to agree terms so that it will become eligible for more credit from the eurozone and the International Monetary Fund. This would in turn allow its banks to finance themselves from the European Central Bank.
Although Athens has been granted a four-month extension to the bailout deal, the Feb. 20 accord did not give Greece access to aid pledged to it from the euro zone and the International Monetary Fund, which has led to a cash crunch.
Does Germany owe Greece wartime reparations money?
After all, does Germany owe Greece anything? For the story, the Greek government has threatened to seize German property as compensation for World War Two, especially for the massacres in Kalavryta and Distomo, where 500 and 218 civilians were retrospectively killed during the Nazi Occupation of Greece from 1940 to 1944. In 2000, the Greek Supreme Court ruled Germany should pay €28m (£19.7m; $30m) to the relatives of those killed, although the decision was not enforced. Germany insists the issue of compensation was reconciled in 1990 legally and politically before Germany reunified. Nonetheless, Germany is quicker to point the finger and being more aggressive, as Merkel clarifies that Greece doesn’t have a blank check to do as it pleases, since the sustainability of euro area must be granted.
Sources: Reuters, Bloomberg, BBC.