Austrian chancellor offers solidarity to Athens
The Austrian Chancellor has said he stands with the Greek people in the face of the rising prospect of Greece defaulting on its debt, saying that proposals by creditors are ‘detrimental to society’.
The Austrian Chancellor spoke ahead of his meeting in Athens with Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras on Wednesday, issuing his support for the Syriza-led government.
Speaking to Austrian news sources, Werner Faymann called on creditors and other EU countries to offer Greece more support, saying that there had been more damage done to the people of Greece since the debt crisis began.
The comments come as the world’s eyes turn to Greece who this week face the crunch moment in what could see the debt-stricken country default on its loan repayments to creditors and be forced to leave the euro.
Tsipras, who was elected as prime minister in January this year, has refused to compromise on his promise to the Greek people to bring an end to austerity in the country. Key policy areas that his negotiators are in disagreement with creditors over are pensions, labour market regulations and taxation.
Faymann said that creditors – the International Monetary Fund (IMF), European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission (EC) – had put forward proposals that were out of order.
“I know there were a number of proposals, also from the institutions, that I also don’t find in order.”
“High joblessness, 30-40 percent (with) no health insurance and then raising VAT on medicines. People in this difficult situation cannot understand that.”
His intervention might be seen as some as a last ditch attempt to muster support for the Syriza-led coalition. European finance ministers will meet on Thursday this week to reach a deal, but Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has said that he will not bring further proposals to that meeting for his European counterparts to consider.
Faymann said, “I stand on the side of the Greek people who in this difficult position are being proposed more things detrimental to society.”
Meanwhile, British Chancellor George Osborne confirmed that contingency planning had begun to mitigate the effects of a Greek default and subsequent anticipated exit from the euro on Britain.
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