Denying Greece support ‘dangerous’, Pröll warns

People’s Party (ÖVP) Vice Chancellor Josef Pröll has warned of “dangerous developments” as European Union (EU) member states have backed out of the previously agreed upon support package for Greece.Speaking about the Czech Republic’s and Slovakia’s decision not to contribute to the 110-billion-Euro rescue bid agreed upon last May, he said today (Thurs): “Neighbouring countries of Austria are rejecting joint European processes. This is a very dangerous development.”The governments of both the Czech Republic and Slovakia recently made clear they would not provide any money for the EU’s bid to bolster ailing member state Greece and the Euro.The vice chancellor claimed the Czech Republic’s situation differed from Slovakia’s since the former did not have the Euro as its currency. Pröll however criticised the country’s government for “acting too reservedly”.Pröll asked: “How can governments make any decisions in the future if withdrawing from agreements becomes a conventional practice?”The Austrian government coalition of Social Democrats (SPÖ) and ÖVP agreed to provide around 2.3 billion Euros to the bid in support of Greece that the EU and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) agreed upon last May.Opposition party representatives harshly criticised the coalition over the issue.Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ) chief Josef Bucher claimed European leaders had “failed”. He said: “They have now agreed to assist ‘money sink’ Greece while not mentioning anything about a tax on risky financial speculation.”Bucher claimed the Euro “will be history” if speculators focused on struggling Spain and Portugal.He went on the brand the coalition’s decision to cough up 2.3 billion Euros for the package for Greece as an “act of desperation without the legitimisation of parliament”.Pröll argued that hundreds of thousands of jobs in several European countries would have been at risk immediately had the EU let Greece down.He however also warned that the “time of cheating and tricking” was over for Greece, adding he was “angry” about former Greek leaders’ actions.Freedom Party (FPÖ) head Heinz-Christian Strache attacked the SPÖ and the ÖVP for not having held a referendum before agreeing on Austria’s participation.A recent Karmasin poll found 26 per cent of Austrians wanted the Schilling reintroduced as the Euro, the currency of 16 EU members, had depreciated in value compared to the US dollar. Austria joined the EU in 1995, and the Schilling was replaced by the Eurozone currency in 2002.Meanwhile, the heads of Austria’s five biggest banks have said they will not reduce investments in Greece regardless of how the economic situation there develops.Raiffeisenzentralbank (RZB) chief Walter Rothensteiner said: “We will not speculate against Greece, and we won’t reduce our investments in the country.”Austrian banking institutions have invested around 4.5 billion Euros in the debt-stricken country.