German chancellor Angela Merkel is visiting Greece this week in an alleged show of solidarity. Reuters notes it will take 6,000 police to protect her.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will tell Greeks she wants to keep their country in the euro when she visits Athens this week, but she faces a hostile reception from a people worn down by years of austerity and recession.
Many Greeks blame Merkel, who has publicly chastised them for much of the past three years, for the nation’s plight. Opponents, some of whom have caricatured her as a bullying Nazi, have promised protests on Tuesday during her first visit to Greece since the euro zone crisis erupted there in 2009.
“She does not come to support Greece, which her policies have brought to the brink. She comes to save the corrupt, disgraced and servile political system,” said Alexis Tsipras, who leads the opposition Syriza alliance. “We will give her the welcome she deserves.”
About 6,000 policemen will be deployed in the capital for her 6-hour visit, turning the city centre into a no-go zone for protest marches planned by labour unions and opposition parties.
“We don’t want her here,” said Yannis Georgiou, 72, who has seen his pension cut by one third. “We will take to the streets against austerity and against the government. Maybe Merkel will hear something and see what we’re going through.”
Is Merkel’s visit really a show of solidarity? Solidarity between whom? Between politicians conspiring to screw Greeks for the benefit of banks?
Merkel Arrival in Athens to Be Met by Anti-Austerity Protesters
Bloomberg reports Merkel Arrival in Athens to Be Met by Anti-Austerity Protesters
“Mr. Samaras said we should welcome Mrs. Merkel as she deserves,” said Alexis Tsipras, the head of Syriza party, which finished second in the June elections and has urged workers, the unemployed and young people, to join the rallies. “We completely agree.”
Samaras has warned that soaring unemployment and political unrest risk the kind of upheaval that undermined the Weimar Republic in post-World War I Germany and ushered in the Nazis. His coalition is currently negotiating a new round of budget cuts to unlock the next aid payment to keep the country afloat.
GSEE and ADEDY, the umbrella organizations for private and public-sector unions, have called for a three-hour walkout tomorrow in the Athens metropolitan area and a rally in the center of the capital. From the nationalist Golden Dawn Party, which evokes Adolf Hitler’s Nazis with their stiff-armed salutes and free-food drives for “pure Greeks,” to the Greek Communist Party, Merkel is persona non grata.
Tsipras urged Samaras to show Merkel the real Greece: “The 40 patients for each nurse, and then see if she asks for more state employees to be sacked. I propose she visit a commercial street so she can see the padlocks on stores. And then she can propose more austerity measures.”
The Independent Greeks, formed by lawmakers who broke from Samaras’s New Democracy party, made the demand Germany pay reparations part of their election campaign in May and June.
Now the fourth-largest parliamentary group, Independent Greeks have called for a protest outside the German Embassy in Athens during the chancellor’s visit. The German ambassador will be handed a petition outlining the party’s opposition to Merkel “transforming Greece into a German protectorate” and calling for war reparations and “the return of an occupation loan,” the party said.
The Greek Finance Ministry has set up a committee to calculate for the first time the country’s World War II claim against Germany. Estimates for the claims range. A group of 28 lawmakers who petitioned parliament on the issue in February said it was 54 billion euros; the Golden Dawn party estimates 510 billion euros.
Germany paid 115 million deutsche marks to Greek victims of Nazi crimes under a 1960 treaty, in addition to funds paid to victims of forced labor under the Third Reich, German Foreign Ministry spokesman Andreas Peschke told reporters in 2010. Germany’s Constitutional Court ruled in March 2006 it didn’t have to pay compensation to individuals seeking damages over war crimes committed during World War II.
Very Risky Maneuver
Samaras says Greece needs time and money. He fails to mention that Greece also needs a mountain of reforms and an exit from the eurozone.
Greece has no chance of recovery as long as it is subject to the whims of the Troika.
The trip is a very risky maneuver by Merkel, and it is not about solidarity, at least with the average citizen of Greece.
By now it should be perfectly clear that Merkel does not give a rat’s ass about Greece or Greek citizens. Rather, Merkel’s sole concern is in regards to preservation of her legacy. If the trip blows up in her face, it is exactly what she deserves.
Mike “Mish” Shedlock