On Sunday, July 5, Greece voted against reforms. What does this mean for Europe and Germany?
Since 2010, Germany provided more than 88 billion Euros financing to Greece. Altogether Greece received more than 320 billion Euros.
But now Greece requires around additional 55 billion Euros from Europe and the International Monetary Fund.
Germany has a divided opinion on Greece’s financing requests. On the one hand, Germany demands that Greece should save money for paying back debts and should present a credible plan for reforms — especially to raise taxes and to cut off social benefits for retired persons.
On the other hand a discharge of Greece from the Euro carries major implications, with regard to the economy, for Germany and Europe. German taxpayers would probably have to pay billions if Greece were to be discharged from the Euro, and in addition the European Union would be challenged.
After the Second World War the European Union was founded with the goal that each country supports each other. This was the common understanding for the protection of human rights, democracy and the lasting peace between member states for the future.
The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and the whole government would lose their people’s trust because they promised to be able to solve the problem with assurances that Greece would refund the money.
Structural problems, like absence of capital investments and minor tax receipts, are responsible for the economic situation of Greece. Without the European Union, Greece is placed on its own; it is hardly to likely that a timely improvement of the economic situation is a realistic scenario for Greece.
Greece needs strong and long-term help by stabilizing its finances and insuring long- term development of its economy.
German politicans and bankers lost their trust in the Greek government and they demand that Greece take immediate actions and reforms. But also the EU Commission, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and eastern Europe and the Baltic countries lost their trust.
For this reason it is so hard to accept the present reforms proposal of last Friday because the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, first fought against reforms and persuaded Greece to vote against austerity. Why should Tsipras change his mind within one week? The Greek government lost its credibility. European finance ministers demanded that Greece implement some of their reforms by Wednesday, in order to talk about the third aid package.
Greece should pay debts back when they improve their economy and implement the reforms. A cancelation of debt is not possible because it would stress sustainable Europe including Germany. When Germany was reunified in 1990, Germany had to pay the foreign debt of the former DDR back. In addition to this, also human reasons justify the repayment obligations of Greece. If one borrows money from someone else, he eventually has to pay it back, unless he goes bankrupt.
The German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, demanded that Greece leave the Euro zone for a limited time period of five years. This requirement irritated the German nation. During a term of five years a lot can happen; it could result in a final discharge of Greece from the Euro. Nobody wants a discharge of Greece. The problem is that the discharge is not prevented if both sides, Greece and accounts payable, cannot agree.
It is important that the confidence be restored between both sides, in order that the discharge could be overcome and Europe will not be harmed. Greece should start its reforms, which are credible.