The masks have fallen. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble made a shocking revelation. He admitted he openly spoke with his Greek counterpart Evangelos Venizelos about a possible euro exit of the debt-ridden country.
UK’s Daily Telegraph describes Schaueble’s comments as “provocative”. So far there has been no comment from the Greek side.
The regular updates [on PSI] coincided with provocative comments from Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schaeuble, who said he had discussed with Greece’s finance minister Evangelos Venizelos whether it would be better for the country to leave the euro.
Speaking at the European University Institute in Italy, Mr Schaeuble said he had discussed the issue “very openly” with Mr Venizelos.
“Maybe you could say it was the wrong decision for Greece to join the common European currency,” Mr Schaeuble said. “Greece has failed for a long time to deliver what is needed to be in a common currency.” (Telegraph)
Wolfgang Schaeuble had a difficult time, while at the European University Institute in Florence, where he gave a lecture on Europe’s future. He became the target of protesting students. Some 60 PhD researchers and university workers confronted Schaeuble wearing pigs masks and holding large banners reading “We Are All P.I.I.G.S”. As the students did not allow only but a few quite moments, before, during and after Schaeuble’s speech, he reportedly got angry and said “Everybody knows the problem is on Greece and the Greeks and not on abroad”.
German Finance Minister vs. PIIGS: ‘Europe is not for sale!’
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble was treated to an indignant welcome today as he arrived at the European University Institute in Florence to give a lecture on Europe’s future. Organized through the Collettivo Prezzemolo, some 60 PhD researchers and university workers confronted Schäuble — one of the key architects of the punitive austerity measures being imposed on Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain — before, during and after his speech.
After plastering the university with hundreds of posters denouncing the Orwellian rhetoric, inhumane policies and undemocratic posturing of Schäuble and the powerful private banks he serves, the protesters unfurled four large banners reading “Europe is not for sale!”, “We are all P.I.I.G.S.!”, “End austerity!”, and “Europe is not sudoku!” — the latter a reference to Schäuble’s puzzling choice to play a game of sudoku during the latest Greek bailout talks. (Further Reading and more pictures Roarmag.org)
ISDA is getting itself ready to declare a “credit event”
Schaeble also said the minimum wage in Spain is still lower than that in Greece… Last figures I saw, from September 2011, the minimum wage of Greece was 1 cent/hour higher than in Spain. Take it he must have missed the latest lowering here completely?
burocrats among themselves. they move more slowly that the reality. We had similar ‘lagged’ statements by FM Westerwelle.
Well, here’s the Eurostat data of the situation in January:
Before you protest that the number is too high, pls note it’s calculated on the base of 14 salaries in a year! And 751 * 14 / 12 = 876.something. With the recent cuts, this willl go down to 595€ for the under 15 year old. That’s harsh, but still above the Portuguese level.
However, imho that is yet another desperate measure to enforce a better competiveness for Greece that simply can’t reach the desired goal on its own. Because Greece has to compete with nearby Bulgaria and Romania for investors, and look where the minimum wages of those nations are in the table! You simply can’t underbid them, no way. So, this whole measure will only help if the government at the same time manages to create a much better investment climate than that in those former communist nations. That means leass corruption, a better administration, faster court proceedings and an economic policy that makes the best use of the advantages of Hellas (qualification, geostrategical location, infrastructure).
That’s a tough challenge, and it will take time to master it. But time’s running short, and so imho it would be much easier for Athens to go back to the Drachme, in order to have more financial leeway to stabilize domestic demand and fund incentives to drive capital into promising sectors and regions. That probably would be much more reasonable than to wait for an EU “Marshall Plan”.