Russia's ex-finance minister Kudrin: "Germany's withdrawal from the euro zone is conceivable"
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Mr. Kudrin, you have been repeatedly voted the best finance minister in the world, as an expert on financial and monetary issues you are appreciated beyond Russia's borders. How can the euro be saved?
Kudrin: Russia hopes that the euro zone get their problems under control. However, Europe is doing it too little. The deficits in countries likeGreece are still too high. Even Spain is in huge trouble. Both countries are effectively bankrupt. Greece and Spain can not operate on their own debts. Will help the European Central Bank (ECB) by government bondbuys.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Is this the right way out of the crisis?
Kudrin: The ECB is buying only time, but the situation is expected to deteriorate so on. The European Union must act decisively to reduce the deficit.
SPIEGEL: Would not it be better to simply write off the debt?
Kudrin: I think that is a possibility, if you have something to deal with the creditor banks do. That would certainly be a step away from the abyss and back to stabilize the markets.
SPIEGEL: Was it ever right to adopt the euro?
Kudrin: Sure. I was thrilled. However, today we see that not everything was thought through. The rules to prevent debts were enforced not hard enough. Productivity in some countries is low.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: falls apart the euro zone?
Kudrin: This can not be ruled out. The financial and economic crisis can turn into a political crisis. People in the West are not willing to drastic reductions in their living standards. Russia, after all that has managed peacefully in the nineties. I'm not sure that this works in Europe.Europeans are living beyond their means. The welfare state in its present form can not be maintained.
Kudrin: I'm afraid so, even if Germany is still doing well. Suppose the euro crisis costing hundreds of billions of euros in Germany. What would you do with the Germans, when once again to come fifty billion? In order to save the euro and preserve, it needs a strong fiscal union. The German people are willing to decide that any Commissioners in Brussels about his spending and taxes?
SPIEGEL ONLINE: Do not carry a withdrawal of Germany from the euro zone for possible?
Kudrin: Yes. Each solution is costly Germany to save the euro or to withdraw from the euro. This serious political decision is your country yet to come.
SPIEGEL: Europe is discussing a 17-billion-euro rescue package for Cyprus.What do you think of the criticism that only because Russian oligarchs will help to park their money there?
Kudrin: She's an exaggeration. And it distracts from the fact that the Mediterranean island for firms from the West a comfortable long tax haven was. Western companies worldwide offshore models use so much as the Russian company do in Cyprus. I can still remember how the then French President Nicolas Sarkozy upset about the tax evasion of his company.
The interview was conducted Christian Neef and Matthias Schepp in Moscow