Monday, February 2, 2015
Greece's New Economics Minister: 'Europe Doesn't Need To Be Afraid'
January 30, 2015
Greece wants to remain in the euro zone, but Athens wishes to renegotiate everything relating to the current austerity regime. SPIEGEL spoke with Economics Minister Giorgios Stathakis about how the new government intends to address that challenge.
SPIEGEL: Mr. Stathakis, should Europe be afraid of a self-confident Greece that refuses to pay its debts?
Stathakis: Afraid of what? No, you don't need to be afraid. Syriza was all along arguing that the terms imposed by the troika have extremely negative effects on our economy and on our people and that they must be changed. The same is also true of Europe.
SPIEGEL: How do you mean?
Stathakis: By way of changes to financial policy toward a more expansive public monetary policy. Our citizens are tired after five years of strict austerity; they feel as though they have been punished by Europe. We need a new agenda for a healthy economic development and a sturdy fiscal framework that alleviates the negative social effects of the crisis. That is why Syriza's election victory could help push through a new type of crisis management in Europe.
SPIEGEL: Still, with his demands for a debt cut and promises of billions in gifts to Greek voters, Alexis Tsipras has frightened his European partners.
Stathakis: We have always said that the solution to our problems must be a European one, with agreement from Europeans on the basis of a very sound idea of mutual interests. That's why we have partners. On the other hand, it has to be a major policy shift to be made in Greece. That is unavoidable.