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They will skin you like hares and wave your skin to Podemos

31 August 2015 / 17:08:46  GRReporter
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On 22 September 2014, Greek Prime Minister of the time Antonis Samaras visited Berlin to meet with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The elections for the European Parliament that were unsuccessful for Samaras had previously passed; he was seeing Alexis Tsipras gaining momentum and was seeking for countermeasures to stop the march of the left to power. Samaras asked Merkel to exert influence on the supervisory Troika, so that it would not be so strict regarding the notorious fifth and final evaluation, and facilitate the exit from the memorandum. He believed that if he could finish with the memorandum he would have had a powerful argument against the advancing Tsipras.

Undefined promise

We do not know exactly what Angela Merkel told the Greek Prime Minister then. According to the information published at that time, she made Samaras a vague promise, not committing to anything concrete. Interestingly, the meeting was held in the presence of German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble. Several days before that Samaras and Schaeuble had met in Portugal during a session of the European People's Party. Then the German Finance Minister had left no possibility of Greece prematurely exiting the memorandum.

That is why the Greek Prime Minister requested the mediation of the German Chancellor. Unfortunately, a few days after his meeting with Angela Merkel, Wolfgang Schaeuble and Poul Thomsen had a secret meeting in Berlin that did not took place in the spotlight. Later, Governor of the Bank of Greece Yiannis Stournaras was informed on the meeting and its course. An American journalist gave him the relevant information. Now, almost a year later, To Vima newspaper reveals in its Sunday issue that the particular meeting between Schaeuble and Thomsen was crucial for the development of the political and economic events in Greece.

Weapon and tool

The two met to consider the prospects for Greece. They were fully informed, had all the data and clearly saw the impending supremacy of the left opposition. They say that during this meeting, Thomsen and Schaeuble considered that it was just a matter of days for the government of Samaras and Venizelos to fall and did not at all give credit to the argument of the Greek Prime Minister of the time that possible financial facilitations would change the course of political events.

On the contrary, Schaeuble was fully confident that any facilitation would become a weapon and tool in the hands of Tsipras. The German Finance Minister did not at all want to give a present through Samaras and put in the centre of the euro zone a left politician who even then proclaimed that his purpose was to change the priorities in the financial policy of Europe, remove austerity and turn the old continent to Keynesianism.
 
Indeed, if they had been flexible to Samaras, if the fifth monitoring had been successful, if they had granted the remaining funds from the second large bailout and found a solution to the debt issue, Alexis Tsipras would have come to power with an incredible gift that would probably have allowed him to behave like a bull in a china shop in the centre of European politics.

According to information from the people who were aware of the contents of the secret meeting in Berlin, Schaeuble was adamant, though Governor of the European Central Bank Mario Draghi listened to the arguments of Antonis Samaras with greater sympathy.

Adaptation

Any violation of the fundamental directions of European financial policy was unthinkable for the German Finance Minister. He preferred to test the resilience of the Greek system and mainly to make Tsipras who was coming to power to adjust to, and be forced to move under, the European rules, mainly within the course of the financial policy imposed by Schaeuble himself in the Eurogroup. The German Finance Minister did not at all want to allow a Greek precedent that would encourage similar actions in Spain, Italy and elsewhere. The bad thing was that the differences between the Greek government and the Troika on the fiscal hole amounted to just over 1 billion euro at that time. Samaras was insistent, did not adopt additional measures, and Schaeuble did not yield and made no step back, he only wanted to wait for the election of Tsipras. At this stage, during the many meetings, the leader of SYRIZA was warned, "they will skin you like hares and wave your skin to Podemos".

Alexis Tsipras did not pay attention to these warnings, he did not take seriously into account the strategy of the German Finance Minister and did just the opposite - to everyone's surprise he chose Yanis Varoufakis, a challenging and controversial figure, to negotiate with the European partners.

The bitter truth

We all know what has happened afterwards. Schaeuble has proved to be more resilient, his strategy has been imposed, radical Tsipras was forced to sign a tough agreement, his party has disintegrated, facing open and uncertain elections at present. The bitter truth is that Wolfgang Schaeuble has made Greek politics dance to the beat of his drum and, unfortunately, the Greeks proved to be "loafers," as stated by a person, who has long acted in the field of politics.

Tags: Wolfgang SchaeublePoul ThomsenSecret meetingMemorandumAlexis Tsipras
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