Germany appeared to take a decisive step back from her traditional post-war role as paymaster of Europe today when Chancellor Angela Merkel issued harsh words on the prospect of a European bailout for the crippled Greek economy.
During the government’s debate on the 2010 budget she warned against premature European action which might not actually solve Greece’s problems in the long term and could also actually weaken the Euro further, and stated that a rash show of solidarity was not the right solution.
In addition she expressed her support for Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble’s idea of putting together an agreement which would be able to exclude future persistent offenders from the Eurozone as a last resort. According to her, current provisions are not sufficient to deal with a situation where a Eurozone country is on the brink of insolvency. She believes a new agreement is crucial for future cooperation.
This reluctance to pay out to Greece seems at odds with Germany’s usual role as financial martyr to the EU cause. So is the Federal Republic’s long-term love affair with all things EU showing signs of fatigue?
Or is Angie merely trying to placate her public, who, during times of financial uncertainty at home, certainly don’t want to be dishing out the Euros to those abroad?!
Indeed, behind her stern stance towards a rapid rescue for Greece surely lies a genuine concern for and continued commitment to the success of the currency union.
Keine Panik, Germany hasn’t given up on us yet!