Greece’s Finance Minister, Evangelos Venizelos, rejected the German idea of imposing a eurozone “overseer” as part of the agreement to keep bailout funds flowing to his country.
He said that the proposal, floated late last week as a condition for Greece to receive another $170-billion bailout from the European Central Bank, would force his country to choose between “financial assistance” and “national dignity.” He said that forcing Greece to accept such an overseer — with the power to veto Greek tax and spending decisions and make sure that debt service is paid before any other government expenditures — “ignores some key historical lessons.” An unnamed official privy to the conversation put it even more clearly: “If you went with that model, you’d do away with the normal democratic decision-making in a member state.”
Venizelos failed to be explicit about those “key historical lessons,” but the threat was clear: Here was Germany trying to enforce its version of financial austerity and “behavior” onto another sovereign nation, just as it did in the 1930s. It was also a reminder of the continuing failure of the EU, which was sold initially as a way to keep the German threat from rising again in the years following the Second World War.
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