Entrevista com o presidente da Confederação dos Sindicatos Alemães

The Way Forward For Greece And Europe, entrevista com Reiner Hoffmann, presidente da DGB:
The Syriza-led government is now putting forward proposals for a debt haircut and the rejection of a policy of spending cuts – which has unleashed occasionally vehement resistance in Germany. Do you think the demands of Syriza are reasonable?

Using a soccer expression: One game leads to another. That means, the Greek government will, after the election campaign, and you can detect the first signals, get its feet back on the ground. If you listen to the Greek finance minister, Varoufakis, the tone is different and you can definitely see the prospect of finding constructive solutions with this government for a better, more sustainable way of servicing debt. We think a haircut now would be wrong; it’s not even necessary. And it wouldn’t help either Greece or the EU. (...)

The key thing now is for Greek GDP to grow again and the interest rate repayment schedule to be more protracted. The country and its people need to breathe again. The moderate proposal of Varoufakis to reduce the EU demand for a primary budget surplus of currently 4% to 1.5% seems to me reasonable and justified. His proposal to couple the rate of interest payments to economic growth in future should be viewed non-prejudicially. Of course, we recognize that getting rid of debt cannot just take three or five years; we should assume a longer period. This is a long-distance race and not the sprint stipulated by the troika for the Greeks. The former ETUC General Secretary, John Monks, whose deputy I was, has already compared the demand for budget cuts with an economic Versailles Treaty and given warning that driving a country into ruin cannot possibly be a sustainable strategy.

So, the DGB (German Trade Union Federation) is demanding an overall solution for debtor countries. We want fresh negotiations within the framework of a European conference on debt for all countries in crisis in order to restore debt sustainability and, thereby, stabilize the Eurozone. We reject this false chatter about Grexit; it would be damaging if Greece quit the monetary union. That, too, wouldn’t be a lasting solution but would simply aggravate problems because of a potential domino effect.

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