Greek President Karolos Papoulias slammed Germany’s finance minister for recent comments about his country as stalled bailout talks stoked tensions between Greece and the northern European countries funding its rescue.
“I don’t accept insults to my country by Mr. Schaeuble.”
Papoulias, who fought in the resistance against the Nazis during World War II, said in a speech today.
“I don’t accept it as a Greek. Who is Mr. Schaeuble to ridicule Greece? Who are the Dutch? Who are the Finns? We always had the pride to defend not just our own freedom, not just our own country, but the freedom of all of Europe.”
Papoulias’s comments came as Wolfgang Schaeuble and other European officials pushed Greece to gouge more cuts out of its budget to qualify for a new bailout that would stave off an economic collapse. Schaeuble today blamed Greece’s New Democracy party, the second largest, for holding up agreement on a new rescue package and his deputy, Steffen Kampeter, compared Greece to a “bottomless pit.”
Greek politicians are expressing their frustration after European finance ministers last week rejected a Greek austerity package worth 7 percent of gross domestic product. That prompted New Democracy leader Antonis Samaras to complain that a gun was being held to the country’s head. George Karatzaferis, head of Laos, the third party in the governing coalition, said the country “could do without the German boot.”
“We are continually faced with new terms,” Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos told reporters in Athens today. “In the euro area, there are plenty who don’t want us anymore.
That now seems to be the game.