Europe Economy

EU Needs to Help Greece More: German Finance Minister

Europe needs to be prepared to help Greece more in future in order to fuel economic growth in the country, German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble told German magazine Spiegel in a interview when asked whether Greece needed a European Marshall Plan.

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble
Axel Schmidt | AFP | Getty Images

Greece's economy is set to contract by an estimated 3.5 percent this year according to the European Union's 2011 spring forecast.

Schäuble told Spiegel that Greece had significant potential to increase its competitiveness.

"One only has to look at the state's share in the Greek economy, which is almost as high as in a country with a communist past. If Greece now starts to sell state-owned companies, then this will not only pump money in the hands of the state but it will also open up considerable opportunities for growth," he said.

Germans' faith in a Greek recovery and exit from debt through financial support alone is waning, and calls for further support to boost the country's economy in a sustainable manner are intensifying.

The influential Federal Association of German Industry (BDI) has called for a medium-term plan for Greece which would create more attractive investment opportunities in the country.

BDI President Hans-Peter Keitel told Reuters last Tuesday in Berlin that “We need to help Greece to develop a business plan for their country and to give them the needed time to implement it…..We need to think about the revenue side in Greece.”

Allianz CEO Michael Diekmann told Germany's Bild newspaper in May that “we need an industrialization plan for Greece, a sort of Marshall Plan. Jobs and production from all over Europe shall be relocated to Greece instead of eastern Europe or Asia.”

In an interview with Zeit newspaper Schäuble added:” Greece has many more hours of sunshine and could export electricity from solar energy production to Germany. That way the Greek economy would have a competitive export product and one in high demand.”