Destinations Magazine

The New Awkward Squad

By Stizzard
The new awkward squad

BACK in April Peter Kazimir, Slovakia’s austere finance minister, faced down trade unions that wanted a “13th month” top-up pension payment. A few days later, in Riga for a meeting of euro-zone finance ministers, he was dismayed to find himself embroiled in an identical argument with Yanis Varoufakis, his disputatious Greek counterpart. Seeking relief from his country’s onerous bail-out terms, Mr Varoufakis argued for the restoration of a 13th-month pension, scrapped during an earlier phase of the crisis. The memory of his spat with the unions still fresh, Mr Kazimir rounded on Mr Varoufakis, telling him that responsible finance ministers offer citizens benefits only when they can afford to. His Slovene counterpart chimed in, pointing out that his country had escaped a bail-out in 2013 only by taking the tough decisions Greece was now avoiding.

It is Greece’s biggest creditors, notably Germany, that will determine whether it has a future in the euro, trading a pension cut here for a lower primary-surplus target there. But that frees smaller, poorer countries to act as vigilantes for rules they consider the Greeks to be flagrantly violating. Greece’s…

The Economist: Europe

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog