The Austrian daily newspaper, Der Standard, describe the eurogroup chief, Jean-Claude Juncker a “master of lies”, in the aftermath of this weekends not-so-secret meeting between the top EU leaders. The newspaper also see Juncker’s handling of the whole farce as “a fatal error that multiplies the scepticism of the citizens.”
“Juncker and his Round Table should be reminded that it was the small states in May 2010 that made the rescue package for Greece possible in the end.”
Criticism is now mounting against eurogroup chief Jean-Claude Juncker for lying about a secret meeting last Friday of selected EU finance ministers in his native country Luxembourg to discuss the worsening Greek debt situation.
A series of furious attacks on the chair of the group of EU states that use the single currency have appeared in the European press over the last 48 hours, arguing that Mr. Juncker can no longer be trusted.
Ministers and their spokespeople across the euro zone had first denied, or refused to comment, on a report which appeared in Spiegel Online revealing that a secret meeting of senior EU officials was being held in a Luxembourg castle to consider a Greek exit from the euro.
The same officials later confirmed that the meeting took place, but that Greece returning to the drachma was never on the table.
Juncker had apparently invited finance ministers from France, Germany, Spain, and Italy, ostensibly under the aegis of the EU members of the G20 (although the UK, a G20 member, was absent), along with Greece, the European Central Bank and Olli Rehn, the EU economy commissioner.
Juncker’s spokesman, Guy Schuller, was quoted by Reuters as saying:
“I totally deny that there is a meeting, these reports are totally wrong.”
This absurd event comes just a week after the Luxembourgh prime minister admitted the that over the course of his career, despite his Catholic upbringing, he often “had to lie” in order not to feed rumours and that economic policy was too important to be discussed in public. “I am for secret, dark debates,” he quipped, according to an EUobserver report.
German press agency DAPD quoted him as saying:
“When the going gets tough, you have to lie.”
On Monday, Austrian daily newspaper, Der Standard, attacked the Luxembourg prime minister calling him a “master of lies,” also complaining that Juncker had invited the larger EU states but not the likes of Austria or Finland and describined the move as “a fatal error that multiplies the scepticism of the citizens.”
“Juncker and his Round Table should be reminded that it was the small states in May 2010 that made the rescue package for Greece possible in the end,” the paper writes in an editorial.
Germany’s Suddeutsche Zeitung states that no one can believe what the EU leaders, particularly Juncker, says any more regarding the stability of the euro zone .
“Seldom have we seen politicians acting as irresponsibly as they did on Friday evening. In Berlin, Brussels, Paris, Rome and Luxembourg, officials were silent, deceptive or just plain lied,” the paper thundered.
“Within a matter of hours, the governments of the euro countries managed to fritter away the last remaining trust the people of Europe still have in the bailout action.”
“Who in the future is supposed to believe that Greece isn’t interested in leaving the euro zone if Luxembourg Prime Minister Jean-Claude Juncker, who heads the Euro Group, is taking the lead on the deception?” the German paper writes.
A frustrated European diplomat told EUobserver the handling of the meeting was “amateur.”
Adding: “What happened is silly. How is anyone going to trust what we say now?”
Meanwhile, Greek authorities are going after Spiegel Online for reporting “false news” about Greece considering withdrawal from the euro.
The Greek prosecutor has contacted German counterparts, requesting assistance in tracking down those responsible at Spiegel Online for the initial report.
On Wednesday, European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso is to visit German Chancellor Angela Merkel to discuss the Greek conundrum and EU Council President Herman van Rompuy will also be dropping in on the German leader to consider the next steps in the crisis.
This meetings will not take place in secret in a Luxembourg castle, but in Berlin – and will be official – at least that’s what they say…
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