Greece was a poor country

Comment: Poor Greece - now it's getting tight

The Eurogroup and Greece have not agreed on anything, not even on how the next round of talks should be prepared. The Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis looked poor because he could not come up with logical proposals and plausible demands. The negotiation was pathetic, and the "cool" demeanor as a tie-free enfant terrible doesn't hide that. He did not convince the other 18 euro ministers. The radical left-right government has not found a single ally for its adventurous course. Greece is basically demanding more money from international lenders, but this time without any conditions. That should be enough for six months until the buck-legged and inexperienced troops in Athens have come up with a comprehensive program. That is an absurd demand that the euro states must not give in under any circumstances. With the blockade in the Euro Group, Greece is resolutely taking another step towards the very near financial abyss.

The EU does not have to keep the election promises that left Syriza and right Anel negligently made, knowing full well that the country has no money for it. Alexis Tsipras won the elections because of the social hardship in the country - riding on a wave of dangerous nationalism. A populist just like he is in the book. The Greeks can vote out political reason or supposedly incompetent governments. This is democracy. But debts cannot be voted out of office. Neither did closed contracts. Neither are European rules of the game.

The fairy tale of oppression

The radical left and right in the Greek government are celebrating the fact that they are restoring the country's sovereignty and freeing themselves from the yoke of German or even European oppression. The majority of Greeks who have suffered in recent years believe this nonsense. The national pride of the people may be great, it may even be hurt. But that is no reason to twist or ignore the facts.

Europe correspondent Bernd Riegert

The fact is that democratically elected governments in Greece have approved all bailout loans and conditions, including the Troika. There can be no question of foreign rule at all. Economic hardship forced action. If Greece had already gone bankrupt in 2010 and if other European countries had been carried away by the close ties in the banking system, where would Greece be today? Would the Greeks be better off then?

The fact is that freely elected governments in Greece have taken on enormous debts for the public finances. Before the start of the financial crisis in 2008, the Greek national debt was already over 100 percent. When Greece was no longer able to finance this debt on the financial market, the Greek drama began. Is it the EU or the Germans to blame for this?

Greece accuses the wrong people

The fact is that the financial crisis in Greece was triggered by the fact that the then government had to admit that statistics on economic performance and deficits had been falsified for years. This trickery has taken the confidence of creditors and investors. Interest rates shot up. In order to bring this maladministration under control, the Troika was installed, among other things, as auditors who control the budget on behalf of the international donors. Every borrower has to let his bank keep an eye on him. Is that foreign rule? No, it's normal business.

The Troika set the guidelines for the Greek budget. Incidentally, the Greek government, together with the democratically elected members of the Greek parliament, determined exactly how government spending was cut and revenue increased.

And what about solidarity? From joining the EU in 1981 to 2006, Greece received around 72 billion euros in grants from the joint EU budget. For years the country was the largest net recipient for good reasons, because there was a lot of catching up to do. As of 2010, the country has received loans of 240 billion euros on favorable terms and debt relief of 109 billion euros. What is it, please, financial torture, as the finance minister likes to put it?

The radical coalition in Athens is fueling fears

The statements made by the new Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias, which he also repeated in an interview with Deutsche Welle, are really dangerous. He speaks of "economic racism" because the Germans supposedly think the Greeks are lazy. To call someone a racist for this nonsensical reason is dishonest and deeply anti-European. Does the new government team no longer have any meaning for European unification? The fact that the Greek economy is not as productive as that of other European countries is a fact, not racism.

It is a pity that the Greek voters apparently believe the myths and legends that are formed by parties and media out of desperation. Not only Syriza and Anel, but other parties before them have played the nationalist piano in Greece. The trauma of the German occupation (and, by the way, the Italian occupation as well) in World War II, multiple state bankruptcies since independence in 1828 and the actual foreign rule by creditor states until the 1940s are still having an effect. But that cannot be a justification for insulting the states in Europe today that are keeping Greece afloat.

The demands of the Greek government are strange, their demeanor is provocative, but their composition is actually scandalous. The left-wing radicals are forming a coalition with right-wing populists and nationalists. When the conservatives in the EU member state Austria were in a coalition bed with the right-wing populists in 2000, the EU imposed sanctions. Where is this outcry today?