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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: http://www.humanite.fr/grece-allege...

by Bruno Odent

Greece Debt Relief: Berlin Still Stalling

Translated Friday 9 June 2017, by Tyler Gates

Wolfgang Schäuble, German Minister of Finance, would not give an inch in negotiations aimed at reducing the weight of the country’s crushing debt.

Municipal daycare employees on strike in front of the Greek parliament in Athens, May 22, 2017. L. Gouliamaki/AFP

German nationalists have been invited to the negotiation table on Greek debt reduction. German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble refused Monday night at the Eurogroup gathering to adopt a list of concrete measures aimed at relieving the terrible burden (179% of GDP), in accordance with the demands of the IMF and requests expressed by the European creditors group. The reason for the German hold up is due to the nearness of the Burdestag elections, expected to be at the end of September. Alternative for Germany (AfD, extreme right), which has been making an entry into regional parliaments for several months, is doing well primarily on its rejection of "union of transfers". The concept has for a long while tainted the internal Across-the-Rhine debate by presenting Germany as a milk-producing cow, and Greeks lazy and freeloading off their partner.

AfD calls for the dissolution of the eurozone

The populist and xenophobic cliché has caught on due to its being based on the same monetary principles which guide the policies of the German Finance Minister, as in his famous 2015 pledge in favor of a... Grexit. The AfD is only pushing this logic further by demanding that the eurozone be broken up in hopes that it will facilitate the triumph of the strongest law, and buries all inclination toward solidarity amongst Europeans. "We haven’t gone away from global consensus." Jeroen Dijsselbloem, President of Eurogroup, had to recognize.

Hoping to save time, Schäuble pleads "for the adoption of a global accord", but not before 2018. In the short term, he is ready to grant Athens the next instalment of their latest aid plan to prevent it from defaulting on the next repayment (7 billion euros) in July.

Dijsselbloem had ruled out completion of a hypothetical compromise by June. Apart from Berlin, all the member of the conclave seem however to agree on the necessity of debt relief, so much as it appears vital to relieve a Greek people worn thin. As would be the country’s authorization to access interest-free loans distributed annually by the European Central Bank. They are prohibited today, in the name of eurozone regulation, even though they meet the most immediate needs.

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