Socialist Worker

European bosses up the pressure

Issue No. 2189

Marching in Athens last week (Pic: Workers’ Solidarity)

Marching in Athens last week (Pic: Workers’ Solidarity)

The pressure on Greek workers intensified in the days following last week’s strike.

Both German chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Central Bank (ECB) demanded the Greek government increased the attacks

by adding measures such as a 1 to 2 percent increase in VAT and further public sector wage cuts.

Merkel is refusing any assistance to Greece unless workers suffer.

A top German diplomat said, “Germany cannot justify its taxpayers having to finance the lovely lives of the Greeks.”

Of course, Greek workers do not have “lovely lives”, and there were no scruples about handing billions to bankers who genuinely have luxury lifestyles.

The president of the ECB Jean-Claude Trichet put forward further calls for Greece “to take the extra measures that will be necessary to make credible their turnaround plan”.

His message was spelled out by ECB chief economist Jürgen Stark who openly called for lower wages on the basis that “Greece has lost its ability to compete on the basis of price. That is something it will have to quickly come to grips with.”

The consistent propaganda against Greek workers is having an effect. A poll for the newspaper Bild am Sonntag found that 53 percent of Germans wanted Greece to be expelled from the euro.

The importance of the Greek events was underlined by Will Hutton in the Observer last weekend.

He speculated that if the EU forced Greece out of the eurozone then, “Its new independent currency will collapse; its interest rates will soar; its public debts will become unfinanceable. It really will default on its debt as it has so frequently in the past.

“It will slide back into being a failed state – with a military coup one all too possible response to the crisis.”

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