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Independent: France and Germany to Blame for Greece Crisis

  As Greeks wait for a second eurozone rescue package to finally be agreed in Brussels today, many are blaming Germany and France for encouraging and benefiting from some of the much-criticised profligate spending which reduced Greece to near bankruptcy. Do France and Germany have a share on the Greek debt crisis?

The Independent UK:

France and Germany ‘to blame for Greece crisis’

Countries encouraged profligate spending on arms that Athens could not afford, say critics

While most Greeks are critical of the reforms on which the troika of the EU, International Monetary Fund and European Central Bank are insisting, many also feel that Germany and France shoulder a share of the blame for Greece’s overspending.

Over much of the last decade, Greece – which has a population of 11 million people – has been one of the top five arms importers in the world. Most of the vastly expensive weapons, including submarines, tanks and combat aircraft, were made in Germany, France and the US.

The arms purchases were beyond Greece’s capacity to absorb, even before the financial crisis struck in 2009. Several hundred Leopard battle tanks were bought from Germany, but there was no money to pay for ammunition for their guns. Even in 2010, when the extent of the financial disaster was apparent, Greece bought 223 howitzers and a submarine from Germany at a cost of €403m.

In the new bailout agreement, Greece will pledge to reduce its defence spending by some €400m. Eurozone leaders have hitherto been notably more tolerant of Greece’s arms expenditure – though this is twice the size of the Nato average as a proportion of GDP – than it has of excessive spending on health or pensions.

“It is easily forgotten when Greece is criticised that there has been not very subtle pressure from France to buy six frigates,” says Thanos Dokos, the director general of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy.

Greece also has the world’s largest merchant marine, but its navy is cutting back on its anti-piracy patrols to protect vessels in the Indian Ocean.

The justification for Greece’s large army – 156,000 men compared to 250,000 in the German army – is the perceived threat from Turkey, which requires the Greeks to keep some form of military parity with a nation with seven times as many people.

Many contracts signed at the height of Greece’s spending spree cannot now be cancelled because of penalty clauses and such money that is left will be spent on maintenance. (Read Full Article The Independent)

This reminds me of KTG article: Greece – Arms Deals: Does Merkel Trade the 2nd Bailout for 60 Eurofighter?

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9 comments

  1. Some years ago a small rural town in Spain twinned with a similar town in Greece.

    The Mayor of the Greek town visited the Spanish town. When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Spanish mayor he wondered how he could afford such a house. The Spaniard said; “You see that bridge over there? The EU gave us a grant to build a four-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end this house could be built”.

    The following year the Spaniard visited the Greek town. He was simply amazed at the Greek Mayor’s house, gold taps, marble floors, it was marvellous. When he asked how this could be afforded the Greek said; “You see that bridge over there?”

    The Spaniard replied; “No.”

    [from: http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/finance/ianmcowie/100014982/greek-euros-how-to-spot-them/ ]

  2. This proves one point of Mikis Theodorakis.
    “the Greeks’ financial hemorrhage caused by the excessive (and compulsory) expenses in buying war materials exclusively from Germany and France.”

  3. And without a shadow of doubt bribes and sweeteners were involved in every transaction and some criminal politicians and civil servants have become stinking rich on our stolen money.
    Why should we be surprised that these things happen at a European national level when it is rife at the very heart of the EU.
    It is a very funny joke from Svend but we have all seen (or not seen) that bridge and when we multiply that by 27 the corruption and theft of OUR money is staggering.
    The European Union is corrupt and unaccountable and if it were a company the Fraud Squad would have visited many years ago and it’s company members would now be sitting in a prison cell.
    Take a look at the Wikepedia page for Marta Andreasen – a one time EU chief accountant who dared to raise concerns about corruption at the heart of Europe and who was sacked for “failure to show sufficient loyalty and respect”.
    The Greek people and soon the Portuguese, Irish, Spanish etc are no more than numbers and pawns in their corrupt political experiment with peoples lives. The sooner the whole decaying edifice comes tumbling down the better.

    • of course, a catharsis and reform within the EU is urgently needed. However we are distracted from this, our attention focuses on the isolated Greek, Portuguese, Irish, Spanish problems -in the last 2-3 years now- and let the EU rules over our heads.

  4. Let us not forget the corruption and lies that allowed countries to enter the Euro project when the state of their economy was well known and was not allowed to stand in the way of the ‘Great European plan’
    The old saying, “You can not make an omelet without breaking eggs” comes to mind – in their case the eggs were the people of Greece and all the other countries who will stripped of their, democracy, wealth, future and pride.