Greek crisis is ‘like the Weimar Republic’
Greece is plunging into an economic and social crisis as desperate as Germany under the Weimar Republic, the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, has warned in an emotional appeal for leniency.
By Louise Armitstead
05 Oct 2012
Mr Samaras told Germany’s Handelsblatt newspaper that the Greek government was “at the limits of what we can ask of our people”. He added: “The cuts we have already made have cut to the bone.”
Athens desperately needs the next €31.5bn (£25.4bn) tranche of its bail-out agreement which has been delayed for months while the government pushes through more austerity measures demanded by the terms of the bail-out. Mr Samaras said Greece had just enough money to last until “the end of November. Then the coffers are empty”.
“I cannot and I will not deny it: Greek democracy is facing perhaps its biggest ever challenge,” said Mr Samaras. “People are at the point where they are saying ‘we are prepared to make sacrifices but we want to see light at the end of the tunnel’. Otherwise everything is in vain.”
Referring to the harsh reparations and rampant inflation that brought Adolf Hitler to power – and which form the root of Germany’s instinctive opposition to debt pooling in the eurozone – Mr Samaras said: “It’s about the cohesion of our society, which is being threatened by rising unemployment, like at the end of the Weimar Republic in Germany.”
He repeated that Greece wanted more time, not more money. “What we need is more time for budgetary consolidation, but not necessarily more aid,” he said.