Greek government refutes German claims that it will sell islands
Tuesday 13, July 2010
Greece reacts with disgust at the suggestion by leading German politicians that the suffering country sell off its islands, monuments and art to covers its massive debt.
Tensions continue to rise between Germany and Greece after two leading German politicians suggested that Greece should consider selling off some of its uninhabited islands, along with national monuments like the Parthenon and the Acropolis. This follows a report by The Guardian that Greece was considering selling part of Mykonos, while Russian and Chinese investors were looking at Greece holidays hotspot Rhodes, along with the Greek railway system.
“There are over 6,000 islands off the coast of Greece, but people only live on 227 of them, so there’s little fear that even if the sales do go through that it will have any kind of effect on future tourism,” says Richard Bray of travel portal Travelmatch. “On the other hand, if Greece goes ahead with the German idea of the privatisation of some of its national landmarks we could actually see a boost to Greece holidays sales, as many of these landmarks are in a state of disrepair, and could use the benefit of private money.”
This comes as the Greek government attempts to stave off national bankruptcy by inducing series of austerity measures such as a freeze on state pensions and deep cuts to public sector pay. Despite the measures, the Greek tourism industry remains steady, with holidaymakers avoiding protest-hit Athens and taking advantage of reduced-cost all inclusive holidays along the country’s coast and islands.
The island sale suggestion was made by Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats party. "Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to pay their creditors," he told Bild newspaper. "Greece owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could all be used for debt redemption."
The German suggestion, coupled with recent depictions of Greece in the German media, has unleashed a wave of Greek anger, which has manifested itself in the form of a boycott of German goods.
“Governments selling islands isn’t entirely unheard off, though rarely on this proposed scale,” continues Bray. “Those with the spare cash can purchases private islands in the Canaries, off the coast of the United States, even in Iceland. We might not be able to sell you a whole island, but Travelmatch can certainly help you find your perfect Greek island getaway, including a range of packages from the UK’s leading leisure travel company First Choice Holidays.”
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