Athens, April 8, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Spiros Sideris
The assurance that the Member States of the EU will not lose a cent from the loan to Greece gave Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias in an interview published today in the Hungarian newspaper Népszabadság, in view of his visit to Budapest Tuesday where he participated in five meeting on energy issues. “Let’s leave the poor people alone – According to Kotzias Greeks want to pay the debt”, says the title of the newspaper quoting the statement of the Minister that “within the week Greece is going to pay the installment of 450 million euros to the IMF”.
“Over the past five years”, Kotzias adds, “despite the great crisis we have paid everyone. Some EU Member States and some European institutions such as the ECB had great benefits. These countries always complain: “we lose our money and we give a lot to the Greeks. Not that they haven’t given a lot. They have granted us a loan which we repaid with interest rate of 4 or 5%”.
The Greek Foreign Minister separated the Athens-Brussels conflict into two parts, policy and debt, stressing that “the policy of strict measures has no future”, which in his view “is proven by the fact that the greek debt in 2008 was 109% of the GDP, while today it has reached 178%, in conjunction with the skyrocketing of the unemployment rate”.
“We support reforms that help in the growth of the economy, but not the strict measures”, Kotzias said, making to a clear separation. Regarding the measures that need to be speeded up, he stresses the fight against tax fraud, the fight against corruption and taxation of oligarchs in Greece.
“Let me give you an example”, he added: “The TV channels that passed to private hands in 1989 have not yet paid to the State for operating permits. To our international lenders I usually explain that a lot of money can be collected from many places, but not from poor people, also citing as “possible revenue” the taxation of savings of many wealthy Greeks who have sent their money abroad”.
Kotzias noted that to those who tell us “you do not want to repay the debt, we tell them that exactly the opposite is true: we want a new form of EU policy in order to have economic growth and be able to pay more easily”.
Meanwhile, the Foreign Minister referred to the danger of cultural racism and stereotypes characterisations such as “lazy, thieves, who like to live on the money of others” against Greeks, which appear nowadays in European SMEs.