According to two German politicians the only way Greece will be able to cover its debt is if it offloads a large chunk of its land, art and historical landmarks.
The right-leaning politicians, Josef Schlarman of the Christian Democrats and Frank Schaeffler of the Free Democrats, were being interviewed for a German newspaper, Bild, when they made the claims. With Greece currently locked in a dire financial situation, warnings were already made that more austerity measures would have to be undertaken if the country has any chance of avoiding bankruptcy. These steps include radical measures such as cutting civil servants pay, increasing VAT, freezing state pensions and further tax increases on items including alcohol and tobacco.
However the Germans, in a move that will no doubt antagonise the already strained relationship between Berlin and Athens, suggested that the Greeks must go a step further and auction off landmarks such as the Parthenon, the Acropolis and also the Aegean islands that lie mostly uninhabited. “Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors. Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption” said Schlarman.
With the austerity measures now being the third such list of cuts, Greece is poised to plunge into a state of disarray as citizens are threatening to enter strikes and public protests. However the EU has said that they will only assist Greece with its financial woe if the cost-cutting measures are put into place first.
A cash bail-out from Berlin has been proposed and Angela Merkel, leader of the Christian Democrats, will meet with George Papandreou the Greek Prime Minister to discuss potential assistance. It is this topic that prompted the two Germans to speak out in an article headlined “Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!”
Mr Schlarman said: “The chancellor cannot promise Greece any help, the Greek government has to take radical steps to sell its property – for example its uninhabited islands”. However such proposals were swiftly dismissed by Dimitris Droutsas, the Greek deputy foreign minister: “I've also heard the suggestion we should sell the Acropolis, suggestions like this are not appropriate at this time”.
With Germany also reeling after the recession there are fears that if it does help Greece other cash-strapped nations such Spain and Portugal could also come calling.
Another group of people who object to the plans are INKA, Greece’s consumer federation. They have put out a call for Greeks to boycott all German products, a call they say is going very well “The response has been immense. This is not against the German people but in protest against sustained attacks from the German government, which will lead to the impoverishment of Greeks” said Haralambous Velidarakis, a member of INKA.
Unsubstantiated reports have suggested that a host of wealthy individuals and companies are vying for the chance not to buy sections of the country, but to buy the country itself. Sponsorship proposals have been put forward that would see the country renamed at the behest of the purchaser, for a fantastic fee of course, in the style of sporting stadiums. Anybody fancy a trip to the easyIslands?