The German colonisation of Greece begins earlier and is more shameless than you thought: 160 German tax officers have started ironing shirts and trousers and stuff shampoos* and daily creams* in their luggage for the long adventurous trip in the wild European South. They will settle in Greece apparently to assist the debt-ridden country in tax collections mechanism. Several German tax officers have already submitted their application for a voluntary position in the tax combat Greek zone. Some of them also speak Greek. I don’t know whether the German tax officers will go door to door to collect taxes, but any association with Roman tax collectors’ behaviour in Asterix village is free of charge and it could definitely create some fan….
The German government is prepared to send 160 financial experts to Greece to help the country overhaul its tax collection, the business weekly WirtschaftsWoche reported Saturday.
Hans Bernhard Beus, deputy finance minister, told the magazine that the tax officials are ready to jump in to help the ailing country. They would need to at least speak English, but about a dozen of the volunteers speak Greek, he said.
A large number of the volunteers would come from western German state of North Rhine-Westphalia, where state Finance Minister Norbert Walter-Borjans of the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) told WirtschaftsWoche: “Greece is facing the problems that former East Germany faced in 1990.”
The German government says it wants to help Greece develop a modern tax administration and has started recruiting volunteers for Greek duty. More than 160 German tax officials with English language skills have signed up and about a dozen also speak Greek, a spokesman for the finance ministry said.
The respected magazine Wirtschaftswoche quoted finance ministers in two states, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) and Hesse, saying they were ready to send German tax officials to Greece even though it was unclear whether such assistance was wanted.
“Greece’s problems today are even worse than the problems faced with former East Germany in 1990,” said Norbert Walter-Borjans, NRW finance minister, referring to the period after German unity when west German tax officials went to the ex-Communist east of the country to help improve tax collection.
“There was resistance then among some eastern Germans against western (tax collectors) but that’s nothing compared to the reservations Greeks will have against Germans,” he added. (Reuters)
**Rumors have it that the German tax collectors will buy all the products they need to cover basic needs in Germany because there the cost of living is cheaper than here.
PS If their East Germans brothers did not want them, why should the Greek would love them? In the context of anti-German sentiment, some Greeks describe modern Germany as the “Fourth Reich”. Are they right or wrong?