It is an old game since Greece sought the ‘rescue’ by its European and other international partners: Every European politician and official – especially those claiming a hegemonic role within the EU and the Eurozone – feels obliged to intermingle into Greek voters’ decision process and try to influence voters. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble makes it in a more subtle way: he warns the country’s next government, specifically a government led by left-wing SYRIZA. Odd enough, the German FinMin does not seem to believe that there is any alternative other than a Tsipras-led government, he praises former Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras and pretends that ND under Vengalis Meimarakis does not even exist.
Speaking conservative daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Schaeuble said among others in his usual essay-style, explanatory way thus making very clear that if a country wants to remain within the eurozone, it has no other options than to follow the rules made in Germany:
“Each country now has to prove that it is able to cope with the adjustment process which is necessary to survive in the globalized world economy. Modernization denial does not help, nowhere. This adjustment process is necessary and inevitable. And in a monetary union, things are even more difficult. Whether you prefer to make this adjustment process as a member of a monetary union in which the instrument of external devaluation is not available, is a question that the Greek society has to face. Samaras’ government was on the right track.
Mr Tsipras has exploited the evident and growing unrest in the Greek population because of the burden of adjustment and he promised the Greeks: We will stay in the euro – but without a program and without adaptation. That was a promise that Tsipras naturally could not keep. He needed half a year to do the opposite. This is the story of the first six months. The second part of the answer is this: As long as we do not have the willingness in Europe, the European institutions to transfer essential parts of state sovereignty, the responsibility lies with the nation-states. And we need rules that we should adhere to. Without confidence that agreements will be respected and implemented, there is no progress in Europe.” (full interview in German FAZ)
PS A very sober and very clear message by Schaeuble who insists on his “Grexit plan. Old chap Wolfie must be very hurt deep inside, that although “Samaras was on the right track,” neither the Greeks nor his own party New Democracy wanted to have anything to do with the former prime minister.