A strange offer of help: Germany to freeze bank accounts of Greeks suspected of tax fraud, but only if Greece gives in to creditors demands

Germany would be willing to freeze the bank accounts of wealthy Greeks suspected of tax fraud, Economics Minister Sigmar Gabriel said in a newspaper interview on Saturday.

“We have offered to freeze the bank accounts of wealthy Greek citizens that owe taxes to their homeland. The offer stands, but for that [to happen] the Greek financial authorities need to get active,” Mr. Gabriel told the German daily Rheinische Post.

Europe is willing to help Greece, but the Greek government’s acceptance of previously agreed upon reforms is a prerequisite, he reiterated. Greece’s problems aren’t a result of Troika initiatives, referring to the International Monetary Fund, the European Union and the European Central Bank, he added.

“Greece is a victim of its own economic and political elite,” Mr. Gabriel said.

Herr Gabriel’s statements are, to say the least, naïve, given that the reforms required of Athens include measures against corruption and tax evasion that the government cannot implement without the cooperation of other European countries’ financial authorities. In exchange for helping Athens root out tax evasion, Gabriel demands that Greece carry on implementing the policies of the previous government – who were unwilling to make any move against the big tax evaders.

But he is right in that Greece is a victim of its own political elite. However, it is the same political elite that the German government and the EU institutions actively supported, and that the voters have tried to replace by a new government, the one that Gabriel’s government is doing its upmost to discredit.

Turning to Russia, Mr. Gabriel said he doubts Greece would seek to replace European partners with an allegiance to Russia.

“Even if I try, I can’t imagine that anyone in Athens is seriously considering turning their backs on Europe to throw themselves into the arms of Russia. And I also doubt that Moscow feels any pressing need to gladly fulfil some of Greece’s financial pipedreams, given the economic and financial situation there,” he said.

And again Mr Gabriel overlooks the fact that when Europe is blackmailing the democratically elected government of Greece with financial strangulation in order to carry on with the failed policies of the previous government, it is not surprising that Athens looks at another country which might offer some help.

Source: Dow Jones Newswires