Thursday 23 February 2017

Germany 'unfairly treated' during crisis, says Bruton

Peter Flanagan

Peter Flanagan

John Bruton
John Bruton

FORMER Taoiseach John Bruton said Germany had been "very unfairly treated" during the crisis. The comments came just three weeks after he described stricter European budget rules as a measure to protect German taxpayers.

Speaking at an event in Frankfurt yesterday, Mr Bruton said it was "easy to start scapegoating" Germany for the crisis. "It's easy to start resurrecting historical stereotypes to avoid facing one's own responsibilities," he added. "We in Ireland did a lot of that, including in the first half of the 20th century where we tended to blame the past record with the British for every problem we had."

Greek President Karolos Papoulias, who fought against the Nazis during World War II, last week said he didn't accept "insults" after Germany's finance minister blamed Greece's New Democracy party for delaying a bailout agreement and his deputy, Steffen Kampeter, compared Greece to a "bottomless pit".

Mr Bruton added, "you could argue that the people who lent the money to them [the Greeks and Irish people] have a responsibility, and they do, but nobody forced Greece to borrow the money, nobody forced Ireland to borrow the money or banks or Irish households to borrow the money."

Mr Bruton's comments come less than a month after he criticised the fiscal compact which aims to stop borrowing in 25 of the 27 European Union states.

"Basically the policy we're pursuing at the moment is a policy designed to protect the interests of savers, and it is not an accident that the country where probably there's the highest level of saving is Germany."

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