Germany Demands More Control Over Greece
Greece’s creditors are agreeing to give the nation an extra two years to pay off its debts, according to several media reports. The extension will cost €16 to €18 billion. But the German proposal would subjugate Greece to tough conditions in return.
Germany wants to beef up the Task Force for Greece, a group of experts led by Horst Reichenbach tasked with overhauling Greece’s government to make it run more efficiently. The proposal calls for “more intense, compulsory employment of external technical assistance.” The “compulsory” assistance would help improve tax collection, reduce corruption and improve the collection of statics, among other things.
The proposal also demands that if Greece deviates from the bailout plan, the government must implement automatic spending cuts. This part of what the Financial Times calls the “much tighter controls over Greece’s own tax and spending policies.”
Also, under Germany’s plan, the bailout money would go straight into a trust account managed by an international body such as the European Central Bank. This essentially strips Greece of budgetary control over its own funding, according to the FT.
Once Greece’s government is making money again (before interest payments), Germany wants some of that money to go into that trust account.
Greece resents this interference in its sovereignty. “We are not a protectorate,” said former Greece finance minister and head of the pasok party Evangelos Venizelos, as he rejected other demands from Greece’s creditors. These included demands for Greece to enforce a six-day week, essentially enforcing Sunday worship on the population.
But if Greece wants relief from the tough bailout terms, it may have to submit to these conditions. If it does, will that prove that it is, in fact, a protectorate of the EU, and Germany?