BERLIN, March 4 Greece should consider selling
some of its islands as one option to reduce debt, two members of
the German parliament in Chancellor Angela Merkel's centre-right
Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Merkel's Christian
Democrats, and Frank Schaeffler, a finance policy expert in the
Free Democrats, were quoted on Thursday as saying that selling
islands and other assets could help Greece out of its crisis.
"Those in insolvency have to sell everything they have to
pay their creditors," Schlarmann told Bild newspaper. "Greece
owns buildings, companies and uninhabited islands, which could
all be used for debt redemption."
Greece has launched an austerity programme designed to
secure European help to tackle its crippling debt burden.
Opinion polls show Germans are overwhelmingly against taxpayers
bailing out Greece.
Greece's deficit was 12.7 percent of GDP in 2009, well ahead
of the EU's 3 percent of GDP limit.
Merkel will meet Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou in
Berlin on Friday.
"The chancellor cannot promise Greece any help," Schaeffler
told Bild in a story under the headline: "Sell your islands, you
bankrupt Greeks! And sell the Acropolis too!"
"The Greek government has to take radical steps to sell its
property -- for example its uninhabited islands," Schaeffler
told Germany's best-selling daily newspaper.
Greek Deputy Foreign Minister Dimitris Droutsas was asked
about the idea in an interview with ARD TV.
"I've also heard the suggestion we should sell the
Acropolis," Droutsas said. "Suggestions like this are not
appropriate at this time."
Germans have had an allergic reaction to reports their
country may be part of a bailout for Greece. Europe's biggest
economy itself is only just creeping out of its worst post-war
(Reporting by Erik Kirschbaum; editing by Matthew Jones)