For the third time in a week, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras will not get the debt relief he’s demanding.
Tsipras, the leader of the Radical Left SYRIZA who leads a coalition with the pro-austerity, far-right, jingoistic Independent Greeks (ANEL) told the country’s international creditors – which include Germany – that he wants a deal by Christmas to give Greece a break from the 326 billion euros ($345.19 billion) it owes in three bailouts.
It wasn’t said what form that would take, such as lower interest, a longer time to repay or outright forgiveness of up to two-thirds of the debt, which would force taxpayers in the other 17 Eurozone countries to pick up the tab for generations of wild Greek overspending and runaway patronage in return for votes.
Germany puts up the bulk of the rescue packages and Chancellor Angela Merkel and Schaeuble have insisted on repeating big pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings to insure German banks get paid back first and make a huge profit on their loans.
Tsipras thought he was getting help when visiting US President Barack Obama backed calls for debt relief only to go to Germany and not ask Merkel to do it, walking away mum and undercutting what he told the Greek leader in Athens.
Schaeuble piled on when he said that, “They (Greeks) have significantly higher social and pension benefits in relation to their GDP, as well as in relation to Germany,” although successive Greek governments since 2010 has slashed pensions and lump sums earned by workers over the years again and again.
Schaeuble also said giving Greece a break over the debt would just encourage the government not to impose reforms and keep spending.