5 Mar 2010

German MPs advise Greece to sell islands to meet debts

9:35 am on 5 March 2010

Two German politicians have suggested that Greece should sell some uninhabited islands to help cut its huge public debt.

MPs Josef Schlarmann and Frank Schaeffler told the Bild newspaper that the Greek state should sell stakes in all its assets to raise more cash.

They want to encourage a debate in Greece on how it could tackle its difficulties.

Greek PM George Papandreou is due to meet Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin on Friday for talks about the crisis. The BBC reports he has already announced a strict austerity programme.

Mr Schlarmann is a senior member of Mrs Merkel's Christian Democrats and Mr Schaeffler is an MP for the Free Democrats - the junior partner in the centre-right coalition.

Both confirmed to the BBC that they wanted to start a debate about what Greece could do to help itself and bolster the battered euro.

"Those who face insolvency," Mr Schlarmann said, "must sell everything they have to pay their creditors."

According to a poll published on Thursday, 84% of Germans think that the EU should not help Greece out of its debt crisis.

National debt for greece amounts to 300 billion euros.