German finance minister’s curt Greece snub after demanding austerity

Wolfgang Schäuble’s comments came during a conference with finance ministers in Berlin, where he showed off his linguistic skills by quoting Roman philosopher Cicero in perfect Latin.

The minister used the event to demand the Greeks push through even more drastic reforms in the country’s public services if they hoped to secure the next instalment of their bailout.

In what could be perceived as a snub to the Greek government, which has resisted against austerity measures to improve its economy for years and demanding several bailouts, Mr Schäuble said: “Thank God I took Latin and not Greek. This way I can not read what the Greek papers write about me.”.

The meeting comes on yet another day of protests and increased anger on the streets of Athens, as the Greeks react with outrage to demands that it cut pensions by 18 per cent.

Greece has struggled to cope with the rising costs of the European migrant crisis, which has again hit the headlines after record numbers of displaced people reached the shores of Europe via Libya.

Germany has refused to support any further bailout deals for Greece until it agrees to inflict further austerity measures on its citizens.

Earlier this month, Mr Schäuble issued the Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras an ultimatum to comply with German demands or see any financial packages withdrawn.

Greece notified its creditors that it was struggling to meet their exacting demands last December over fears it could not repay £5.08billion of debt by the July deadline.

However, Germany and other lenders have refused to restructure the debt in a bid to drive uncertainty which is adding to banks capitalisation issues.

In February, Mr Tsipras had warned international leaders not to heap new burdens on the country, as eurozone finance ministers met to prepare for the next round of bailout talks.

 The Greek Prime Minister had called on governments to remember that the country had made “many sacrifices in the name of Europe.”

European governments are yet to reach agreement on the next phase of Greece’s €86 billion (£73 billion) bailout programme.

The country has so far managed to come to an agreement over reforms to its pension system and banking governance, although disagreements persist over Greece’s intentions to privatise its energy sector.

The IMF has repeatedly threatened to walk away from the current package unless Greece receives more help managing its debt burden, described by the Fund as “highly unstable”

Daily Express :: World Feed


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