In an interview, he said the following sentence: “Greeks are hard working people who support their families with their hard work. They cannot be equated with all those mistakes which have undoubtedly been made over the years”.
Uff, one apparently has to become an Elder Statesman to become able to coin such momentous phrases!
Of course he is right! The whole point is that a very large portion of the Greek population is now getting the very short end of the stick without deserving that at all! Just take the issue of tax cheating. When over half of the Greeks in some form of a working activity are taxed at the source for their income, you already have over one half of the Greeks in some form of a working activity which cannot cheat on incomes taxes.
Of course the Germans know that the majority of Greeks are hard workers, decent and honest people who strive to provide a better life for their families, particularly for their children. I mean, Greek guest-workers have demonstrated that in Germany during a couple of decades and Udo Jürgens wrote his ode to the Greek guest-workers which became most popular in Germany.
To say what Gerhard Schröder said in the interview is the easy part, and it is easy to agree with everything he said. The hard part is to figure out solutions to this problem.
Regarding solutions: Schröder, the man who colluded with his French buddy Mitterand to allow Greece’s Euro-entry even though they knew, as they later admitted, that Greece was not qualified (“after all, they are the cradle of Europe and they are so small that they can’t cause that much trouble”); Schröder, the man who is responsible – again in collusion with his French buddies – for the undermining of the Maastricht Treaty; Schröder, the man who is now so much involved with Russian leadership/oligarchs that he could easily start an “Invest in Greece”-campaign in Russia — well, that gigantic symbol of a statesman is rather short on solutions.
An American boss once said to me: “I don’t pay you to explain to me what’s wrong and why it is wrong. I pay you to come up with proposals as to how we can make it right!”