NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN (ALMOST)
5th February, 1921 : The Allied reparations bill has been received “with pain and indignation”, a German Government spokesman told the Reichstag on Wednesday. Reparations on the scale demanded by the Allies would lead to “the economic and political pauperisation of the German nation”. Germany, it is claimed, would disappear from the world as a purchaser and a consumer, and her “powers of resistance against the danger of Bolshevism” would be seriously weakened.
The reparations bill, which was agreed at a meeting of experts in Paris last month, requires Germany to pay more than 200 billion gold marks (£10 billion) over the next 42 years up to 1963. In addition, an annual 12.5 per cent tax is to be levied on German exports.
German public opinion appears firmly behind the Government. In Bavaria, extreme nationalists and communists are joining in demands for an alliance with Soviet Russia against the Western powers.
And from Bloomberg Business :
“Yanis Varoufakis, Greece’s new finance minister, is a brilliant economist. His first steps onto the political stage, though, didn’t seem to go very smoothly.
Before joining the Syriza-led government, Varoufakis taught at the University of Texas and attracted a global following for his blistering critiques of the austerity imposed on Greece by its international creditors. Among his memorable zingers: Describing the Greek bailout deal as “fiscal waterboarding” and comparing the euro currency to the Hotel California, as in, “You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.”
His social-media followers seem to love the fiery rhetoric—but investors and European Union leaders are clearly less enthusiastic. Greek stock and bond markets tanked on Jan. 30 after Varoufakis said the new government would no longer cooperate with representatives of the troika of international lenders who’ve been enforcing the bailout deal. At an awkward Jan. 30 meeting with Jeroen Dijsselbloem, head of the Eurogroup of EU finance ministers, Varoufakis appeared to make things worse by calling for a conference on European debt. “This conference already exists, and it’s called the Eurogroup,” an obviously irritated Dijsselbloem told reporters afterwards.
The reaction from Berlin was even frostier, with Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble saying Germany “cannot be blackmailed” by Greece.” ]