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Beware of Greeks Bearing Debts
Greek Revenge Tragedy

Are Greek politicians going off the rails? On Monday, we examined the strain Syriza finds itself in as it’s torn between two contradictory, strongly held Greek desires: to end the austerity regime and stay in the eurozone. But while Varoufakis was talking referenda, another Greek pol was making much stranger threats. Open Europe reports:

Speaking at a meeting of Independent Greek MPs yesterday, party leader and Greek Defence Minister Panos Kammenos argued that “If they [Germany] hit out at Greece then they should know that the migrants will get [travel] papers and go to Berlin.” He also reportedly added that if there were any members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State among these migrants, then Europe would only have itself to blame due to its behavior towards Greece.

Although Kammenos is the leader of Syriza’s coalition partner, he’s a relatively inexperienced politician; it seemed at the time that he was just shooting his mouth off, however irresponsibly.

Today, though, the Greeks took a similarly inflammatory but more calculated step. Open Europe, again:

Greek Justice Minister Nikos Paraskevopoulos has this morning said that he is “ready to approve” a Greek Supreme Court ruling dating back to 2000, which established that German property in Greece could be seized as compensation for wartime atrocities. Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras also told parliament yesterday, “After the reunification of Germany in 1990, the legal and political conditions were created for this issue to be solved. But since then, German governments chose silence, legal tricks and delay.” He confirmed that a special parliamentary committee will be re-established to look into the issue.

Countries afflicted with failed populist syndrome often seek external enemies. The temptation is understandable, but for Greece to do so now—and to choose Germany, its most powerful creditor—would be particularly foolish.

Hopefully, this will remain but bluster. The first rule when standing in a puddle of gasoline is: don’t start lighting matches.

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  • Ellen

    They have started to light matches because what else can they do? In the 1980’s Papandreou’s government sold Greek foreign policy to Arab oil sheikhs and what did they get in return? No investment. So, now they are threatening Germany with violence. That is too ridiculous to even be laughable.

    • SDN

      No, not really. I mean, they’re simply talking about refusing to enforce immigration laws, and we know those don’t matter.

      Of course, it might get a little less funny if they decide that their austerity program requires they lay off the customs inspectors and a softly glowing shipping container makes it to Berlin…. which our President is facilitating with Iran right now.

      • Andrew Allison

        I think what they said was that they will give the immigrants travel documents. If, for example, the government were to give immigrants citizenship and a one-way ticket, they could then go anywhere within the EU under the right of free travel law. I don’t think Greece would be that stupid, but they’ve been acting pretty stupid lately.

    • Corlyss

      I dunno. Strikes me as instant karma.

    • Andrew Allison

      Surely the question is to whom both parties sold fiscal responsibility.

  • Andrew Allison

    Not tragedy, but farce! “Those whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad”

    • Curious Mayhem

      It’s all Greek to me.

  • Jacksonian_Libertarian

    Greece needs to leave the EU and the Euro, and the sooner the better. It simply can’t compete without an undervalued currency to boost exports.

  • Corlyss

    “if there were any members of the self-proclaimed Islamic State among these migrants, then Europe would only have itself to blame”
    Gosh! Can’t argue with the accuracy of that.

  • Pete

    The Greeks are desperate to keep the wealth transfers from Europe to them to continue — forever and ever.

    For the long term health of Europe, Greece needs to be kicked out of the euro zone. They never belonged in it in the first place.

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