Transcript of the Intervention:
Mr. Schäuble, thank you for your beautiful Orwellian speech — I have to congratulate you on [unintelligible mumbling] that mind-numbing political rhetoric.
You are undoubtedly a very smart and affable man. I’m sure you read the news; I’m sure your advisers pass you very important reports that you read. So you know. You know that the Greek economy is entering its fifth year of recession; you know that the economy contracted by 6-7 percent last year and is set to contract by another 4-6 percent this year.
You know that the austerity measures that are being imposed by you and your colleagues are actually aggravating the situation. You know this because the IMF actually formally stated this; it admitted it in a recent report. You know it because in a secret document circulated in a meeting between you and your fellow European finance ministers, it was admitted that despite the second bailout, despite the haircut that is being asked of private lenders, Greece will probably still need another bailout by next year.
At the same time you know that the ‘bottomless pit’ here is not Greece. You know that the bottomless pits are the overleveraged financial institutions that overextended themselves on Greek bonds in the lead-up to the crisis. You also know that public spending in Greece — that much-hated Greek welfare state — is actually anemic. It’s below the EU average. It’s below Germany’s.
You know all these things.
You know all these things, yet you continue to impose the same counter-productive austerity measures on the Greek country [sic.], in complete disregard for the national sovereignty of the Greek people and the democratic legitimacy of the Greek state.
So I’m asking you, basically, a very simple question: Who are you really trying to help here? Who are you really trying to save? Whose side are you on? The peoples of Europe, or the financial institutions you’re trying to serve?