The EU should appoint a specially designated commissioner for Greece to oversee the country’s reconstruction from its deep economic crisis, the head of the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers said in an interview published on Wednesday.
Jean-Claude Juncker told Germany’s Die Welt newspaper his proposal was different to the ‘budget commissioner’ previously suggested by Germany that upset Greeks who were unwilling to take orders from abroad on tax and spending.
“I would be very much in favor of an EU commissioner charged with the task of building up the structure of the Greek economy,» said Juncker, who is also Luxembourg’s prime minister.
“Not a ‘budget commissioner’ but a construction commissioner, pooling together all the competences of the EU Commission concerning Greece,» he said, adding that such a figure would work closely with the EU’s top economic official Olli Rehn.
The EU should do more to help Greece make better use of infrastructure funds from Brussels and to improve its competitiveness, Juncker said.
Greece approved bitter new austerity measures on Tuesday, slashing the minimum wage and chopping pensions as Athens began implementing measures demanded by international lenders in return for a 130 billion euro rescue package.
On Monday, Germany’s lower house of parliament, the Bundestag, endorsed the Greek bailout despite growing unease in the EU’s paymaster about pouring more money into a country some German officials have described as a «bottomless pit».