Grasser says Greece rescue was ‘worst decision’

Former Freedom Party (FPÖ) Finance Minister Karl-Heinz Grasser has branded the rescue plan for ailing Greece the “biggest mistake of the European Monetary Union”.Grasser said in a newspaper interview today (Tues) he would have forced the economically struggling country to leave the Eurozone. This term describes the 16 European Union (EU) member states which have the Euro as their currency.Grasser, who acted as finance minister between 2000 and 2007, claimed such a step would have helped the Euro to more reputation and credibility.”The first major mistake (of EU leaders) was to discuss the situation of Greece until the whole house was on fire,” he explained.Grasser said he was “surprised how badly Europe managed this crisis”.The former minister, who now works as a consultant for companies, said: “It was the wrong decision to throw tax payers’ money at countries who handled economic issues badly.”People’s Party (ÖVP) Finance Minister Josef Pröll meanwhile claimed there was no alternative to helping Greece.”Leaving the country alone would have caused the Euro more trouble. Hundreds of thousands of jobs across Europe would have been lost,” he stressed.The Austrian government coalition of the ÖVP and the Social Democrats (SPÖ) recently agreed on contributing 2.3 billion Euros to the international rescue plan agreed on by the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).The FPÖ and the Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) accused SPÖ and ÖVP of neglecting Austrians by allegedly planning to raise taxes. FPÖ chief Heinz-Christian Strache said people should be able to decide about future assistance moves as the most recent one in EU-wide referendums.Two of the Greens’ 20 MPs came out in support of the Austrian contribution in a parliament referendum held last week.Research agency Karmasin revealed recently 26 per cent of Austrians want a reintroduction of the Schilling – which was replaced by the Euro in 2002 – in reaction to the current developments.