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Old 04.03.2010, 16:05
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Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

Greece should sell islands to keep bankruptcy at bay, say German MPs

• Firesale of Greek islands, Acropolis and Parthenon suggested
• Greek public reacts with outrage and boycotts German goods

Phillip Inman and Helena Smith
The Guardian
Thursday 4 March 2010 13.57 GMT


Josef Schlarmann told Bild newspaper that Greece should consider selling its uninhabited islands for debt redemption. Photograph: Third Eye Images/Corbis

Greece must consider a firesale of land, historic buildings and artworks to cut its debts, two right-wing German politicians said today in a newspaper interview that is bound to exacerbate tensions between Athens and Berlin.
Alongside austerity measures such as cuts to public sector pay and a freeze on state pensions, why not sell a few uninhabited islands or ancient artefacts, asked Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, and Frank Schaeffler, a finance policy expert in the Free Democrats.
The Acropolis and the Parthenon could also fall under the hammer along with temptingly idyllic Aegean islands still under state ownership in a rush to keep bankruptcy at bay.
"Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors," Schlarmann told Bild newspaper. "Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption."
Only yesterday the ruling socialist government in Greece published its third attempt at reducing the country's debts and pleasing EU governments, which have pledged to support the beleaguered Greek economy if measures to cut debts are enacted.
Strikes and street protests have already threatened to bring many industries and public services to a standstill if the cuts go ahead.
But Germans remain unmoved by the troubles facing Greece. Opinion polls show Germans are overwhelmingly against a Berlin-funded bailout.
Greece's deficit was 12.7% of national income in 2009, well ahead of the EU's 3% limit.
Merkel will meet the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, in Berlin on Friday.
"The chancellor cannot promise Greece any help," Schaeffler told Bild in a story under the headline: "Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!"

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Old 04.03.2010, 16:12
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

Ridiculous suggestion isn't it!

just shows how p1ssed the Germans are about the idea of supporting weaker EU countries

they are right at being angry at Greeks but then suggestion selling of sovereign ground is provocation
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:19
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

A good explanation for why Germany in particular is angry:

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Proposals in Brussels to throw a financial lifeline to debt-strapped Greece have met with resistance from some EU governments, in part because of the poor precedent a bailout would set for other member states in similar predicaments. But there is also mounting public opposition to such a move, particularly in Germany. As a result, despite the threat a Greek meltdown would pose to the eurozone as a whole, the German government has adopted a hard-line position in negotiations over how the EU should respond, causing relations between the two countries to become increasingly strained.
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The German government has historically extended massive funding to poorer member states, including Greece, in part by being the biggest net contributor to the European budget. In 2008 alone, it contributed €8.8 billion more than it received. This largesse has served the dual purpose of promoting European integration while at the same time creating markets for German exports. But the resulting trade imbalances between Germany and peripheral economies such as Greece's are at the core of the current situation: For many years, Greeks were consuming above their means, thanks to easy access to credit made possible by eurozone membership -- a situation that also benefited Germany's export-driven industry. During this period of abundance, little attention was paid to Greece's mounting budgetary imbalances.

Now, however, with Greece's debt endangering the common currency and the eurozone economy, Berlin is pushing Athens to enact substantial spending cuts in lieu of a bailout. During a recent finance ministers meeting in Brussels, Germany -- along with Austria and Sweden -- blocked efforts to reach an agreement on financial aid measures.

Bailing out Greece with German taxpayers' money could be politically costly for the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel, which is already feeling pressure from German opinion. The heavily export-dependent German economy has suffered significantly from the economic downturn, with exports falling 18.4 percent in 2009 and unemployment currently at 8.7 percent. In this context, the general mood is not one of solidarity toward Greece, and providing financial aid could mean political suicide for the Merkel administration. Moreover, there is no guarantee that her coalition partners in the market-friendly Free Democrats Party would accept a bailout.

Berlin's tough approach is causing tensions between the two countries, aggravated by German press reports describing Greeks as "cheats" for wasting German taxpayers' money. In return, Greek Deputy Prime Minister Theodoros Pangalos accused Germany of keeping gold stolen from Greece during World War II. Greek newspapers announced that "economic Nazism" was threatening Europe and denounced an ongoing "racist frenzy and calumny against Greece."

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Old 04.03.2010, 16:20
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

England has the Elgin Marbles, therfore probably has more Greek assets than the Greek government does at the moment.

There has to be a hardline approach otherwise what is the point of having rules if they are there just to be broken.
I would guess that the Greeks with their attitude will just do what they want and not give a hoot.
There will be more EU countries to follow in the same situation the Greeks are in in the near future.
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:21
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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England has the Elgin Marbles, therfore probably has more Greek assets than the Greek government does at the moment.
Certainly got more "balls"
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:25
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

I think it's an excellent idea: Selling the Acropolis of Athens would hardly involve seeing it moved to a museum in London, would it?

Get a private company involved, let them cream off some profits, use the cash raised to pay off some of those debts, and everybody is happy!

And as far as selling off Greek islands, I'm sure they'd do very well if they gave Turkey first refusal on Imia...

Mind, if anyone ever paid their taxes in Greece, the country wouldn't be in this mess in the first place...
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:26
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

I think you'll find that was done a while ago; it's actually part of the problem
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:27
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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Mind, if anyone ever paid their taxes in Greece, the country wouldn't be in this mess in the first place...
sounds like a boot-shaped country near here...
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:28
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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I think you'll find that was done a while ago; it's actually part of the problem
As far as I'm aware, all antiquities are owned and managed by the state.

I'm happy to be put right, though.
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:29
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

OMG, letting Kreta or Kos to be as German as Majorka or Lanzarote
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:29
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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selling of sovereign ground is provocation
Why not? if you or your company is stuck in massive debts you also have to consider selling some of your assets.

I mean they could it do smarter than those from Karstadt, sell ist cheap and charge later high taxes to cover the cost for infrastructure and of course to own it.
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:30
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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OMG, letting Kreta ... be as German as Majorka or Lanzarote
It was quite German in the 40s, if I recall correctly...
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:32
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

that acropolis cant be worth much - looks in a terrible state of disrepair.

just shows they couldnt even afford to put double glazing in or some nice pebble dashing
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:32
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

I'd sell Agion oros first

Even talking about Acropolis make Greek blood boil so bloody 4get it!
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:34
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

I think it would be a great idea selling the islands off.

It would be interesting to see which Capitalist or Countries would buy these islands.

One island could be the new Isreal and that would sort out the Middle East problem

Oh and we must not forget the Muslims; one could become the first Islamic state in Europe
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:35
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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One island could be the new Isreal and that would sort out the Middle East problem
Thessaloniki used to be just that, until the Germans arrived...
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:37
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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I think it would be a great idea selling the islands off.

It would be interesting to see which Capitalist or Countries would buy these islands.

One island could be the new Isreal and that would sort out the Middle East problem
Then go and buy Dubia islands which are for sale (The World)! Luckily Germany island has been 1st. one recently announced for build up

Last but not the least, apparently my next beach vacation will be in Bodensee
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:38
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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I think it's an excellent idea: Selling the Acropolis of Athens would hardly involve seeing it moved to a museum in London, would it?
Well at least the Elgin Marbles could then be reunited with the Acropolis...
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:56
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

The weaker economic countries are not called "PIGS" for nothing; Portugal, Italy,Greece and Spain, I have now heard the term PIIGS, with one "I" standing for Ireland. Looks like these countries are going to be the first to fall and fall hard, I just hope that the situation in Greece will not cause a domino effect.
I can remember one Eurocrat, this is going back some years, saying that letting the chronically cash strapped PIGS states into Europe will cause the Euro to fail in the end.
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Old 04.03.2010, 16:59
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Re: Sell your islands, you bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!

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I can remember one Eurocrat, this is going back some years, saying that letting the chronically cash strapped PIGS states into Europe will cause the Euro to fail in the end.
I seem to recall a lot of Germans saying that too...

If I was Greek, I'd probably have a good strike now, just to show how serious I am about all this.
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