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Germany’s EU Commissioner Wants Greek Administrators Replaced

As Greek officials admitted the nearly-broke country will be out of cash to pay its workers in mid-October without the next round of scheduled loans from an international bail-out package, European Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, a German, suggested the flags of economically failing countries be flown at half staff in front of European Union buildings – and that Greek tax collectors be replaced.
He had a more militant proposition as well, one which raised a specter from World War II: that Europe send United Nations soldiers to Greece to liquidate its assets and force tax collection, according to the Daily Telegraph of London, resulting in headlines in Greece denouncing the “Fourth Reich” and “terrorism against the Greeks.”
He said lowering the flags of faltering countries “would just be a symbol, but would still be a big deterrent.” He said another way to help pull Greece out of debt could be replacing “the obviously ineffective administrators” there with those from other EU nations because Greece has failed to meet the demands to sell off its assets and go after tax evaders. European administrators “could operate without concern for resistance and end the inefficiency,” he told the German newspaper Bild.
He added: “Those who demand solidarity from the other countries must also be prepared to give up partial responsibility for a certain time,” adding to Greek fears the European Union – led by Germany – is eating away at Greece’s sovereignty.
On its knees and desperate for cash, Greece has instituted an emergency property tax that could affect Greek Americans and those in the Diaspora owning land or buildings as well, and with another problem for them: the taxes are being put in electric bills and payable immediately.
Meanwhile, the country has made virtually no headway in getting tax evaders to pay nearly $40 billion a year in lost revenues, apart from publishing the names of businesses who owe and won’t pay.
Greece is in the midst of an initial $157 billion bailout from the so-called Troika of the EU-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank, but evidence is growing that scheme has only piled debt on top of the country’s staggering $460 billion deficit, and a second bailout of $152 billion – but only on the conditions Greece privatize state-run entities to raise $71 billion and impose another round of deep pay cuts and tax hikes on workers, pensioners and the poor, while the rich and country’s powerful elite have gone untouched, setting off a series of demonstrations and riots.
There is also growing talk of Greece being pushed out of the 17-nation Eurozone of countries using the euro as its economic woes threaten to topple the union, but even Oettinger rejected that notion. “That would divide Europe and would be a disastrous signal,” he told Bild. “Then investors and markets wouldn’t trust us at all anymore for the future,” he added.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel also ruled out Greece returning to the ancient drachma it abandoned 10 years ago, saying that could bring down the Eurozone.. But she said she agreed with Economy Minister Philipp Rösler, who said that the stabilization of the euro might require “if necessary, an orderly bankruptcy of Greece.” The Greek economy is now projected to contract by a staggering 5.3% this year, rather than the 3.8% estimate upon which the IMF and EU bailout plans were based. In an interview with Der Tagesspiegel newspaper, Merkel appeared to be trying to defuse the crisis by suggesting that any talk of Greece withdrawing from the euro or Germany withdrawing its aid to Greece should be put aside. “What was ignored for ten years can’t be fixed overnight,” she said. “That means that we have to be patient.”

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