German finance minister Wolfgang Schauble has been a staunch proponent of austerity measures for Greece as part of its third bailout since the country's sovereign debt crisis of 2007-8. Greece has been forced to increase taxation, slash public spending and reform its over-generous state pension scheme, which has caused massive social upheaval and unrest.
"After the immense savings efforts which the Greeks have implemented in recent years, the Euro-Finance Ministers must now honor their commitments, release bailout funds, and implement the debt relief that has been promised for a long time," said Udo Bullmann, vice-president of the Social Democrats in the European Parliament in the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs.
"This is not only fair but also sound economics. Only if we make sustainable growth possible in Southern Europe can the apocalyptic scenario in the eurozone be left behind. A Greece that has been destroyed by dogmatic cuts while it continues to suffer under its debt burden cannot recover. Finance Minister Schauble must no longer block a constructive solution for the crisis-stricken country," he said.
MEPs said that the Greek parliament had approved further pension cuts and tax increases, and thus "created the conditions for the release of further bailout installments". However, Germany in particular, feels that Greece has not gone far enough to deserve the latest tranche of bailout money.
"The most recent austerity program approved in Athens is only the latest in a long series of reforms, which have exhausted the country. Greeks, from children to pensioners, have made their own painful contribution to the recovery of the state budget — always with the hope that the international community would make concessions in the form of debt relief," said Bullmann.
"This promise must not fail because of the stubborn austerity obsession of the German Finance Minister."