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24 May, 2024
 
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Wolfgang Schäuble, former German Finance Minister, dies at 81

Remembering the German statesman's impact on austerity measures and Cyprus bailout negotiations

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Wolfgang Schäuble, the influential former German Finance Minister and speaker of the Bundestag, passed away at 81, leaving a profound mark on European financial affairs. His family confirmed his peaceful passing on Tuesday night, as reported by the German DPA news agency.

Born in 1942 in Freiburg, Schäuble rose to prominence as a stalwart of the Christian Democrats (CDU), serving in various government roles. His international influence peaked during the 2008 financial crisis and subsequent eurozone challenges. As Germany's finance minister, he staunchly advocated for fiscal discipline in southern European countries, particularly in Greece, where his austerity measures stirred controversy.

In 2012, Schäuble rejected IMF calls to grant Greece more time for spending cuts, leading to accusations of insulting Greece by its president. Surviving an assassination attempt in 1990, Schäuble remained a key CDU figure and a potential successor to Chancellor Helmut Kohl.

In 2013, Schäuble played a pivotal role in Cyprus's financial bailout negotiations with the Troika — the EU, IMF, and ECB. He championed stringent conditions, including significant losses on large bank deposits, to stabilize Cyprus's economy. This decision sparked public outrage and raised questions about the stability of the Eurozone's banking system.

Schäuble's passing elicited condolences from German political leaders. Friedrich Merz of the CDU mourned the loss of his "closest friend in politics," while Chancellor Olaf Scholz acknowledged Schäuble's contributions as a "bright thinker and staunch democrat." Veteran Green politician Katrin Göring-Eckhardt also praised his commitment to parliamentary democracy.

Survived by his wife Ingeborg and four children, Schäuble leaves behind a complex legacy. His influence on European financial policy, marked by both admiration and criticism, underscores the challenges and decisions that shape the Eurozone's economic landscape. In Cyprus, his role in the 2013 bailout crisis remains a testament to his lasting impact on nations navigating financial turmoil within the Eurozone.

[Source: Deutsche Welle and Wikipedia]

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Cyprus  |  Germany  |  finance

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