NEWS

EU Task Force chief's car and home attacked in Germany

Vandals have daubed the house of a top German EU official working on Greece and set his wife's car on fire in an apparent protest against the cutbacks that international lenders are imposing on Greece.

The group claiming responsibility for the attack called itself «Friends of Loukanikos» - Loukanikos (Sausage) being the name of a stray dog adopted by anti-austerity protesters who have regularly fought police in central Athens.

Senior prosecutor Helmut Lange said the group was previously unknown. He declined to say whether or not the official, Horst Reichenbach, or his family had been in their home in Potsdam, just outside Berlin, at the time of the attack on Monday night.

Reichenbach heads a European Commission task force charged with helping to rebuild Greece's shattered economy, now in its fifth year of recession.

The Berliner Morgenpost daily received a message from the ?Friends of Loukanikos» claiming the attack.

The paper said the message also threatened the «troika» of inspectors from the European Commission, European Central Bank

and International Monetary Fund who assess whether Greece is carrying out the painful fiscal reforms it has promised in return for an EU/IMF bailout.

Greece itself has seen a number of small bombings and acts of vandalism in recent months in protest against the austerity programme.

Reichenbach's team of about 50 advises Greek ministries on how to improve competitiveness and tax collection, open up the public sector and cut red tape.

[Reuters]

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