Greece must sell off assets East German-style

Thursday, July 7, 2011
By Paul Martin

Greece must privatise assets on a scale similar to the sell-off of East German companies at the fall of the Berlin Wall to rebuild its finances, the chairman of the Eurogroup of finance ministers said on Sunday.

By Matthew Holehouse

“The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited,” Jean-Claude Juncker, who is also prime minister of Luxembourg, told Germany’sFocus magazine.
On Saturday finance ministers signed off the release of the latest €12bn (£11bn) tranche of aid, rewarding the Greek government’s victory in a parliamentary vote on austerity measures.
These included setting up a privatisation agency at the insistence of the European Union and the IMF.

“For the forthcoming wave of privatisations they will need, for example, a solution based on a model of Germany’s “Treuhand agency”, said Mr Juncker, referring to the body that sold off 14,000 East German firms in 1990-94.
In comments that are likely to alarm Greeks sensitive to the prospect of foreign interference, he said teams of economic experts from around the eurozone would be heading to Greece. “One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the eurozone,” said Mr Juncker.

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