Austria’s Parliament has decided not to keep profits from its holding of Greek bonds and will return them to Greece in a grant to help the country try to recover from a crushing economic crisis and $390 billion debt.
Austrian Minister of Finance Maria Fekter is authorized to give Greece an annual grant up to the profits of the Central Bank of Austria (OeNB), as holder of Greek state bonds.
In 2013, OeNB’s expected profits are projected to be €61 million, in 2014 are expected to amount to €55 million, in 2015 to €42 million, in 2016 to €32 million, in 2017 to €25 million, while the total revenue to be allocated to Greece until 2038 is estimated to reach €281.2 million, or $362.82 million.
The four opposition parties, voted against the proposal. The two far-right political parties, Freedom Party of Austria and Alliance for the Future of Austria (BZÖ), repeated their opposition to helping Greece.
The Austrian Green Party expressed its solidarity with Greece, but criticized the way of delivering aid to the country, which, in its opinion, benefits only the banks. It asked for development programs instead of the austerity policy that is imposed from Brussels in Greece.
Fekter of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) characterized the action of providing help to Greece as an expression of European solidarity, which it said contributes to the Eurozone’s and Austria’s stability, while Athens is obliged to implement reforms.
She added that the money will reach the Greek population but didn’t explain how since the money isn’t earmarked for social purposes and the government can spend it any way it wants. She insisted that two-thirds of the profits would go to the state and one-third to recapitalize banks.
Fekter rejected the far-right opposition’s criticism of letting Greece go bankrupt and be expelled from the Eurozone. She pointed out that Greece is dependent on imports, which, in such a case, would not be invoiced in the weak currency of drachma but in the strong euro.