Recently, Greek newspaper Kathimerini interviewed Dr. Peter Schoof, former German ambassador to Athens (2014 – 2017) and Senior Advisor at Berlin Global Advisors on the legacy of late Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s former finance minister during the Greek financial crisis. In the interview, he highlights Schäuble’s influence in securing approval for the third bailout package for Greece and emphasizes the former minister’s commitment to fiscal discipline within the eurozone.
Schäuble’s Enduring Legacy: Architect of German Unification and Eurozone Discipline
Dr. Schoof notes that Schäuble’s historical legacy in Germany is primarily associated with his role in the successful reunification of Germany in 1990. In Greece, however, Schäuble’s legacy is seen as twofold: first, his advocacy for strict austerity measures to uphold the fiscal rules of the eurozone, and second, his instrumental role in securing parliamentary approval for the third bailout package in 2015.
Schäuble’s Unseen Side Amid Controversial Austerity Measures: Regular Concerns for the ‘Ordinary Greek’
Despite the controversy and criticism Schäuble faced, Dr. Schoof describes him as a human and empathetic person, highlighting that Schäuble regularly inquired about the situation of the “Ordinary Greek.” He further suggests that Schäuble’s awareness of the controversy surrounding him in Greece and his dedication to former Chancellor Merkel and the principles of the eurozone were instrumental in preventing a potential Grexit.
‘I have often said that it was sometimes as difficult to have a rational discussion about Germany in Greece as it was to have a rational discussion on Greece in Germany.’
The interview also touches on the challenges faced by Dr. Schoof as an ambassador during the politically charged period, emphasizing the importance of understanding the nuances in both German and Greek perspectives. You may read the full interview here.
About the Author:
Dr. Peter Schoof joined BGA as Senior Advisor in November 2023. He looks back at a multilateral and diplomatic career of 38 years, first in the United Nations and for the most part in Germany’s Foreign Service. Until his retirement he served as German Ambassador to Indonesia and to ASEAN. Previously, his career had a focus on European Affairs, with postings as Germany’s government spokesman in the Permanent Representation in Brussels, as Task Force manager for Germany’s 2007 EU presidency and as Director for EU Affairs. From 2014 to 2017, at the height of the sovereign debt crisis, he served as Germany’s Ambassador to Greece. In 2017, he was appointed Inspector-General of the German Foreign Office, a role in which he evaluated and advised German missions abroad, i.a. in Ukraine, South Africa, Argentina, Brasil and Brussels.