As soon as the news of the death of Wolfgang Schäuble, who died at the age of 81, became known this Wednesday, the social network X, what remains of the old Twitter, was filled with conflicting messages. On the one hand, there was the institutional tribute to the statesman, someone who, “by his actions and his example, shaped German democracy like no other,” as the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, wrote. On the other hand, unfriendly comments were multiplying associating his name with the most bitter memories of the euro crisis, and most of the profiles were Greek. Because if there is a place where Schäuble left his mark besides Germany, it is Greece, the country that more than any other learned to know the extent to which the dogmatism of the fiscal rigor of Angela Merkel’s former Finance Minister reached.
For most Greeks of age who remember the journey the country has taken in the last fifteen years, Schäuble remains the man of that “nein” that resonated every time they considered loosening the noose of austerity, shock therapy which was prescribed to a country that ended up drowning while being rescued. There are those who still remember the posters that were seen in the streets of Athens, in those hot and dramatic first days of July 2015, on the eve of the referendum that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called for citizens to decide whether to accept another round of measures. restrictive measures provided for in the third bailout. On those posters, the face of the then German minister with a frown, as had been seen so many times in the agonizing Eurogroup meetings, appeared next to a huge “Oxi”, “no”. “He’s been drinking your blood for five years, tell him no,” the poster read.