The Guardian

Greece should sell islands to keep bankruptcy at bay, say German MPs
The Guardian

Greece must consider a fire sale of land, historic buildings and art works to cut its debts, two rightwing German politicians said today in a newspaper interview that is bound to exacerbate tensions between Athens and Berlin.

Alongside austerity measures such as cuts to public sector pay and a freeze on state pensions, why not sell a few uninhabited islands or ancient artefacts, asked Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, and Frank Schaeffler, a finance policy expert in the Free Democrats.

The Acropolis and the Parthenon could also fall under the hammer, along with temptingly idyllic Aegean islands still under state ownership, in a rush to keep bankruptcy at bay.

« Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors, » Schlarmann told Bild newspaper. « Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption. » Germans remain unmoved by the troubles facing Greece. Opinion polls show Germans are overwhelmingly against a Berlin-funded bailout. Greece’s deficit was 12.7% of national income in 2009, well ahead of the EU’s 3% limit.