Influential German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble calls the Greek crisis in the summer of 2015 the most dramatic crisis in the last four years of his tenure at the post.
Schaeuble’s comments, published as part of an interview to German mass daily Bild, coincided with the same-day long-distance "verbal volleys" between his one-time Greek counterpart and interlocutor, Yanis Varoufakis, and the latter’s former comrades in the SYRIZA-led government.
Asked about the most “dramatic moment” over the past four years, he replied:
“Perhaps the dispute over the program for Greece in the Summer of 2015, when the country had to close its banks. On the day we had to make a final decision, I talked to the Chancellor over the phone a dozen times…”
Asked if he actually favored Grexit, as many press articles at the time maintained, he said: “Almost all European finance ministers agreed that a path outside the Eurozone would be better for Greece. I was in agreement with Mr. (Sigmar) Gabriel, too, before I left for Brussels...”
He was succinct when describing what he said was then German vice-chancellor and SPD chairman’s Sigmar Gabriel’s position on Grexit.
“He (Gabriel) said, of course, that Schäuble is right internally. Only later on, he demonstrated the opposite externally. In the end, Ms. Merkel had to weigh the pros and cons. She had to prioritize the overall responsibility for Europe. In retrospect, one can live well with the result. Greece has implemented many reforms and is on a good path.”