In its latest issue, German magazine Focus showed the famous armless classical statue now at the Louvre raising her middle finger under the headline “Cheats in the euro family” to suggest that Greece deliberately misled EU peers to cheat its way into the euro.
“Greeks are no crooks, we want the German government to condemn this most improper publication,” George Lakouritis, President of Greece’s Consumer Institute (INKA), told reporters.
INKA distributed leaflets in central Athens and in front of German-owned consumer electronics store Media Markt, urging Greeks to heed the boycott.
“The falsification of a statue of Greek history, beauty and civilisation, from a time when there they were eating bananas on trees is impermissible and unforgivable,” INKA said.
The Venus cover has caused an outrage in Greece, which is seeking support from fellow EU countries such as Germany to cope with a debt crisis that threatens to destabilise the euro.
Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has so far deflected appeals to promise aid to heavily indebted Greece. Opinion polls show that a majority of Germans oppose a bailout.
Germany’s ambassador to Greece, Wolfgang Schultheiss, has said he regretted that German press reports caused offense. “Germany is firmly on Greece’s side,” Schultheiss said after being summoned by Greece’s parliament speaker Filippos Petsalnikos.
“The ambassador’s statements were not satisfactory,” Lakouritis said. “If you have such friends, what do you need enemies for?” he said.