Greece lashes out at ‘obnoxious’ Economist magazine

A Greek government source lashed out at Britain’s Economist magazine on Monday for suggesting that Greece was threatening Germany with a front cover featuring the Venus de Milo statue brandishing a gun.

“It’s completely obnoxious and ridiculous to suggest we could blackmail Europe,” the official told reporters in London as Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis met his British counterpart George Osborne.

“Since the election was won there was a negative approach by British media… especially The Economist,” the source said.

The Greek government “didn’t expect The Economist to exploit an ancient Greek monument to send such a negative message,” the source added.

The front cover for the weekly’s current issue shows Venus pointing a gun with the caption “Go ahead, Angela, make my day” — a reference to German Chancellor Angela Merkel in a phrase taken from the US cop film series “Dirty Harry.”

Germany’s Focus magazine angered Greeks in 2011 with a front cover featuring the Venus statue making an obscene middle-finger hand gesture with the caption: “A cheat in the euro family.”

Greece’s new left-wing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has blamed Germany for driving the tough austerity programmes his government has pledged to end.

Merkel on Monday said that “tough talks” lay ahead but stressed that Berlin wanted “friendly relations with the new Greek government” and that Tsipras would be a “welcome guest” in Berlin. [AFP]