Juncker tells Greeks to prepare for foreign intervention

3rd July 2011, Comments 0 comments

Greeks must be ready to see foreigners help decide how they will deal with mass privatisations to pay off their debts, Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker said in an interview Sunday.

"The Greeks' sovereignty will be massively constrained," he told the German magazine Focus.

"For example, to deal with the coming wave of privatisations they will require something akin to the German Treuhand", a trust created in 1990 to oversee the privatisation of state-owned enterprises after the collapse of communist East Germany, Juncker, who heads the group of eurozone finance ministers, added.

"One mustn't offend the Greeks. But one must help them. They have declared themselves ready to accept experts from the eurozone" to help them deal with economic reforms, he added.

Greece is now under pressure to swiftly implement 28.4 billion euros in budget cuts and tax hikes, and a 50-billion-euro privatisation programme, that the parliament approved last week despite riots in the streets of Athens.

"The measures decided by Athens must quickly be implemented. The privatisations must for example begin immediately," German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said for his part Saturday.

Greek Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has pledged that Athens will fulfill its end of the bargain in exchange for massive bailout packages by the European Union and the International Monetary Fund.

Juncker said he was convinced that the measures now agreed to help Greece "will solve the Greek question".

The crisis "was to a large extent self-inflicted," Juncker also said.

"Between 1999 and 2010 salaries went up by 106.6 percent even though the economy did not grow by similar proportions. Wage policy was totally out of control and did not take into account productivity," he added.

© 2011 AFP

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