Inside Greece

Greek politicians bickered yesterday (13 November) over the latest statement of the former US Treasury Secretary, Timothy Geithner, who said that Europeans wanted to “smash” Greece to make it pay for its mistakes.

In a meeting with EU officials in July 2012 (G7), Geithner said that Europeans had a hostile attitude toward Athens and wanted to “punish” Greeks for their financial irresponsibility.

More precisely, the American official stated:

Europeans came into that meeting [July 2012] basically saying: ‘We’re going to teach the Greeks a lesson. They are really terrible. They lied to us. They suck and they were profligate and took advantage of the whole basic thing and we’re going to crush them.’ [That] was their basic attitude, all of them”.

Most Greek MEPs did not reply to my e-mails asking for a comment, obviously trying to avoid “being exposed” to such a sensitive issue.


But centre-right MEP, Giorgos Kyrtsos (New Democracy, EPP) told me that “he is not convinced” by Geithner’s statement, as Americans and some anti- European political forces in the UK, France, Italy and Germany highlight the Greek problem in order to indicate the weaknesses of the EU and hinder EU integration process. He also slammed IMF’s ironic stance on the Greek issue, saying that it supports a public debt haircut but its statute does not permit it to proceed to such a move. But what really impressed me was the fact that he attacked the US governments, saying that they have always supported Greek politicians “who believed less in the United Europe”. Two of them, he said, are (former socialist PM) Giorgos Papandreou and leftist Alexis Tsipras (Syriza leader).

The issue seems a bit more complicated as main opposition Syriza was also recently blamed for supporting Russia in Ukraine crisis. How can Syriza be blamed for being supported by the US while it opposed the EU sanctions against Moscow? How can it be Washington-driven as its MEPs voted against the Association Agreement between the EU and Ukraine and abstained in the voting for the EU-Moldova Association Agreement?


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