Beware of bearing gifts to the Greeks

Beware of bearing gifts to the Greeks

29th March 2010, Comments 0 comments

The former Belgian Prime Minister and current floor leader of the European liberals in the European Parliament, Guy Verhofstadt, says that the debate on Greece is being pursued unfairly and that public opinion is not being properly informed.

Verhofstadt insists that the "cacophony about Greece" should cease. The Flemish liberal is a strong advocate of European integration, but it pains him that Greece's financial crisis that threatens the Euro zone.

He told VRT Radio that in recent days some European leaders have done more damage than all Euro sceptics put together.

Verhofstadt says public opinion is being given the impression that Greece needs money, German, French, Belgian and Dutch money, but this is not the case.

He claims: "What Greece requires is an instrument that allows it to lend money at a lower rate. A loan issued by the Europeans has a better credit rating than one issued by Greece, but this doesn't mean that the Europeans have to repay this loan. That's what Greek taxpayers will have to do; the European taxpayer shouldn't have to pay one single franc."
Germania contra mundum?

In discussions about assisting Greece, Germany's position conflicts with that of several other important Euro zone players. Verhofstadt believes that Berlin may still opt for a settlement instead of conflict: "Germany reaps no advantage from a weakened EU. Germany is a big exporter. Many of the goods go to Euro zone countries and a destabilisation of the Euro zone would be detrimental."

Verhofstadt backs a European solution for the problem, but is prepared to contemplate a mixed EU-IMF loan: "It would be better if we could restore order in our own house, but I will be glad if there is a settlement that can end this cacophony."

"The wider world will be amazed at what is happening, especially because the euro helped us so well during the financial crisis. I think it's dreadful that the euro is being undermined by the impotence of EU leaders to agree on a way out for Greece. I expect courage from everybody, because in the end it will be a joint decision."

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