Euro zone warns Greeks on sovereignty and privatization


Euro zone finance ministers have approved a 12 billion euro ($17.4 billion) installment of Greece’s bailout, but signaled that the nation must expect significant losses of sovereignty and jobs.

Ministers in the Eurogroup gave the go-ahead for the fifth tranche of Greece’s 110-billion-euro financial rescue agreed last year, and said details of a second aid package for Athens would be finalized by mid-September.

But within hours of Saturday’s decision, Eurogroup chairman Jean-Claude Juncker warned Greeks that help from the EU and International Monetary Fund would have unpleasant consequences.

“The sovereignty of Greece will be massively limited,” he told Germany’s Focus magazine in the interview released on Sunday, adding that teams of experts from around the euro zone would be heading to Athens.

“One cannot be allowed to insult the Greeks. But one has to help them. They have said they are ready to accept expertise from the euro zone,” Juncker said.

Greeks are acutely sensitive to any infringement of their sovereignty and any suggestion that foreign “commissars” might become involved in running the country is an incendiary political issue and could trigger more street protests.