The National Herald — One of the most despised figures by Greeks after his country backed harsh austerity measures in return for bailouts, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he deserves credit for forcing reforms to be adopted.
“One day, (the Greeks) will erect a monument in my honor,” Schaeuble was quoted by Handelsblatt newspaper as saying during an election rally in Germany.
The party he serves under Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is seeking re-election has been behind the brutal pay cuts, tax hikes, slashed pensions and worker firings foisted on successive Greek governments in return for 326 billion euros in three international bailouts from the Quartet of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank-European Stability Mechanism).
Schaeuble has been able to get Greek governments and finance ministers, apart from SYRIZA’s former finance chief Yanis Varoufakis, to cave in to demands that mostly came from Germany.
When the combative Varoufakis wouldn’t buckle, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, reneging on anti-austerity promises, replaced him after the lenders said they couldn’t work with him anymore.
Schaeuble, whose country insisted on harsh austerity measures in returning for putting up the bulk of international bailouts to save Greece, said successive governments were to blame for brutal pension cuts.
Schaeuble in July told the newspaper Ta Nea said it was Greek governments and not the country’s international creditors who decided on the final mix of policies to reach fiscal targets in return for the bailouts.
He also mocked Tsipras for the Premier’s unfulfilled promises to make ultra-wealthy shipowners pay taxes and to “crush the oligarchy” after the Greek leader instead agreed for more pension cuts he swore to reject and to tax low-income families instead of the rich.
Read more: The real reason why Schaeuble is worried about the tax status of Greek ship owners, remembering that Tsipras had made many promises before the elections that he was forced by the lenders themselves to abandon.