Reflections on the Greek Deal

One reason why one should hope the deal does not unravel is that the E.U. – even with Germany as a dominant member – keeps Germany within a European framework. The original impulse to form the union after WW2 was to achieve a European Germany and prevent a German Europe. To a considerable degree, that objective has been achieved.

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Roger Cohen in The New York Times, July 13:

Yes, the German Question is back. Is German domination compatible with further European integration or will it prove a fracturing force?

Merkel has tried to tread a fine line between the rage at Greece within her center-right party and her determination to hold the euro – and Europe – together. She has resisted the many German voices saying, “To heck with Greece. Enough!” But, overall, notwithstanding the provisional Greek bailout deal reached after marathon negotiations, she had erred on the side of rigidity, austerity and responsibility lessons. German methods are good for Germans. But if Berlin now wants all Europeans to follow those methods, the Europe that offered postwar Germany a path to salvation will break apart.

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2 responses to “Reflections on the Greek Deal

  1. I fear you are right. The dominant gene should not be more powerful in Germany than in any other country, but history (the disastrous vindictiveness of the victors at Versailles being the most obvious example) appears to have amplified it.
    Germans have replaced tanks with banks to impose their will on their neighbours.
    If history runs true to form, that imposition will only increase their neighbours fear, mistrust and anger and that eventually will lead to new conflict.

  2. henrylotin@rogers.com

    Can appreciate the drama of the moment bring out historical comparisons. But taxpayers in much of “wealthy” Europe are saying either “No” or calling for strict conditions to bail out Greece once again. The Greek debt to Germany is going to rise from about 1000 EURO per adult German to 1200 EURO per adult German. If this debt was owed to us, what would we ask in return? The vast majority in much of the rest of the EU do not see German concerns as “imposing their will on their neighbours”, even if calling for less strict terms. The German government is responding to democratic pressures of its population/taxpayers.