Greece as a model for Germany?
Before taking office as Germany's new finance minister on Wednesday, FDP leader Christian Lindner praised Greece's post-debt crisis reform policy and said that Germany should follow its example. Athens' impressive reform policy had succeeded in "putting the Greek economy on a new successful course", Lindner said on Tuesday. Commentators are dubious.
Tough times ahead again
Website Capital comments:
“Lindner's praise for a country like Greece - with its high level of public debt and rapidly rising inflation - should probably be read two or three times. It may be very indicative of what lies ahead for Germany and the Eurozone as a whole in the area of economic policy. As we rejoice over this praise from Germany, we should at the same time prepare to tighten our belts in order to curb inflation and public debt. Because there are certain ways to control inflation, deficits and debt: higher interest rates, fiscal restraint and reforms that promote growth but are usually not very popular. ... Against this backdrop, we should not assume that the new German government is our friend.”
Austerity has taken a heavy toll
Apparently Christian Lindner is unaware of just how much the public sector in Greece is suffering from the consequences of austerity, commentator Stathis Schinas complains in Avgi:
“I don't know if the Germans would accept being intubated in simple beds in hospital corridors without protest, as is the case in Greece for numerous Covid patients, or if they would have taken to the streets to demonstrate weeks ago. I don't know if the Germans would accept cuts to the health budget in the middle of a pandemic. I don't know what they would do if the state stopped payments to contractors, builders and recipients of approved subsidies in order to 'balance' the budget so that the deficit for 2021 would be in the single digit range.”
And along came Syriza
If Lindner sees Greece's austerity policy as a good example for Germany to follow, he may be harming his own cause, writes the leftist daily Neues Deutschland:
“The FDP leader and (unfortunately) new federal finance minister praised the former crisis country's 'impressive reform policy' on Tuesday. In view of such statements we must hope that Lindner won't succeed in pushing through whatever social and economic policy measures he dreams up in his neoliberal reveries. ... But history also shows that these measures ultimately ushered in a government led by the left-wing Syriza party. So if Lindner wants to take Greece as a model, perhaps he will unintentionally pave the way for a federal government with left-wing participation.”