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ATHENS – Outspoken Defense Minister Panos Kammenos said German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, whose country is putting up much of the bailout monies to save Greece, is using a kind of “psychological warfare,” with constant belittling.

“I do not understand why he criticizes Greece every day with new statements,” Kammenos told the German daily Bild.

“It’s like psychological warfare and Schaeuble is poisoning the relationship between the two countries through that.”

Schaeuble has been almost taunting the new Greek coalition government of Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA leader Alexis Tsipras and Kammenos’ Independent Greeks (ANEL), who’ve had to back down from campaign promises to seek debt relief, not to take a bailouts extension, and not to negotiate with the troika of the European Union-International Monetary Fund-European Central Bank (EU-IMF-ECB).

After mostly having his way with Greece and the country’s Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis, Schaeuble has been keeping on the full-court press, insisting Athens impose more reforms of the harsh austerity measures the creditors insisted upon in return for 240 billion euros ($272.5 billion) in two rescue packages since 2010.

Kammenos, who has rankled Turkey and the European Union with a series of provocative statements, noted a financing scandal that rocked Schaeuble’s Christian Democratic Union party in 2000.

“It is not as if Germany and Mr Schaeuble have always been perfect,” he added. “We Greeks remember perfectly well Mr. Schaeuble having to quit the Presidency of his party because he was implicated in a corruption scandal. And yet today he’s Finance Minister.”

While Greece’s threat that if the lenders squeeze too hard the country would be forced out of the Eurozone have failed to move them, Kammenos insisted if it did happen that the financial bloc of the 19 countries using the euro would be in jeopardy.

“If Greece explodes, Spain and Italy will be next and then at some point, Germany. We therefore need to find a way within the Eurozone, but this way cannot be that the Greeks keep on having to pay,” he said.

Despite the bold talk, Kammenos has joined Tsipras in mostly relenting to Germany and the lenders’ demands.

Source: The National Herald
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