German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said Greeks should be praised for their sacrifices under austerity but shouldn’t blame Germany or the European Union for their plight.
Germany has insisted on harsh austerity measures in return for contributing to international bailouts propping up the Greek government.
“Greece has made great progress,” Schaeble said in comments to German public television ARD. “If Greeks continue on this road, there are serious possibilities that they will succeed,” he said.
Greece called on the Troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB) four years ago for a bailout after the economy was brought to the edge of collapse by decades of wild overspending by successive governments that hired hundreds of thousands of needless workers in return for votes.
Since then, some Greeks, including political leaders, said the crisis was the fault of the EU, the United States, international markets, speculators, the CIA, the Ottoman Occupation and unidentified outside sources.
“We should show respect to the Greek people for what is being endured,” he added. The German minister also called on Greeks “not to be misled by irresponsible politicians” but did not elaborate. Greece’s major opposition Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA) has opposed German-supported reforms in Greece.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who backed big pay cuts, tax hikes and slashed pensions proposed by Troika that is putting up 240 billion euros ($330.7 billion) in two rescue packages, is due to visit Athens on April 11 to show support for Prime Minister Antonis Samaras’ implementation of reforms.
Schaeuble also referred to an increase in tourist arrivals to Greece and to the importance of boosting growth.
Asked about the possibility of a third loan package to Greece, the minister said, ” I don’t know.”
He added: “For the time being, the Greek government says that it can make it alone and that it can secure access to the markets,” referring to the stated intention by the government to attempt a small bond issue in the coming days or weeks.
Greece has been locked out of the markets since coming under Troika dominion in 2010 and after stiffing private investors with 74 percent losses three years ago.