Report: Greek aid likely conditioned on arms deals
Financial aid to cash-strapped Greece is suspected to have been conditioned on the country’s managing to clinch arms deals with Germany and France, a report reveals.
“Speculation is rife that international aid for the country was contingent on Greece following through on agreements to purchase military hardware from Germany and France,” The Guardian said on Thursday.
Germany’s biggest arms market in Europe is Greece with around 15 percent of its total arms sales heading there.
Earlier in January, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a joint news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy in Berlin, “We must see progress on the voluntary restructuring of Greek debt.”
Merkel and Sarkozy both insisted to press ahead with a greater “fiscal compact” in Europe, and tougher penalties for the countries that violated the eurozone’s budget rules.
Greece’s Deputy Prime Minister Theodore Pangalos regretted during a May 2010 visit by Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan that Athens was spending so much money on arms.
He said the country was being “forced to buy weapons” and that the deals made him feel “national shame.”
Thanos Dokos, a leading Greek defense expert, said the country had 1,300 tanks, more than twice the number in the UK and far beyond its needs.
Greece has the highest debt burden in proportion to the size of its economy in the 17-nation eurozone. Despite austerity cuts and bailout funds, the country has been in recession since 2009.
In order to secure an EUR-130-billion bailout package funded mostly by the eurozone member states and the International Monetary Fund, the country had to adopt harsh austerity measures, including massive cuts to its private and public sector wages, pensions, as well as health and defense spending, which have worsened the economic recession, leading to thousands of job losses.
- The Untold Story – Arms imports and the Greek debt crisis (antiworldnews.wordpress.com)
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