Two leading German social democrats (SPD) – one long past his career, and one a potential nominee for chancellorship – believe that if Greece defaulted on its debts, it wouldn’t lead to economic disaster. “The psychological effects of a smaller EU member state’s default would be only temporary”, says Helmut Schmidt, chancellor from 1974 to 1982, and co-editor of Germany’s weekly Die Zeit. If the Greek government defaulted, Europe should – more than ever – help to get the Greek economy going again, in terms of employment, productivity, and national income.
Peer Steinbrück, finance minister from 2005 to 2009, who hasn’t ruled out running for chancellorship in 2013, calls for genuine cancellation of Greek debts. A mild conversion of debts would only allow for a short reprieve, said Steinbrück.