Last Man Standing

Only she’s a girl.

Merkel

You have called Angela Merkel the modern-day empress of the eurozone. What do you mean?

The title empress reflects, in my view, two realities of present-day Europe. First, the Germans look so strong because the others look so weak. The British are withdrawing from Europe. The French are down but not out. They’re unable to rev up their economy – same thing for the Italians, same thing for the Spaniards. So, when you add it all up, who is the last man – or in this case, the last woman – standing?

The second reason is more concrete – the Germans have been in the vanguard of driving home fealty to the eurozone’s foundational treaties. These conventions enjoined member states, like Greece, not to overspend and over-borrow and, at the same time, to make their economies more efficient. Merkel and her finance minister are not austerity mongers as everybody is harping on about. They are committed to the original treaties’ stated rules that require eurozone members to reform their economies and become more competitive.

Zum ersten Mal seit 2005 könnte die Union einer Umfrage zufolge die absolute Mehrheit erreichen. Die Partei wäre mit 43 Prozent der Stimmen stärker als all anderen Parteien zusammen.

The Guy YOU Love To Hate

I pour moi think he’s the greatest. Weiter so (keep it up), Wolfgang!

Schäuble

Despite bitter opposition in many quarters to the austerity-first policies Germany has imposed on Europe’s poorer nations, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government has hung on to its role as champion of integration on the Continent through deft use of diplomacy and the country’s economic clout.

But in negotiating a new deal this week to bail out Greece, Germany displayed what many Europeans saw as a harder, more selfish edge, demanding painful measures from Athens and resisting any firm commitment to granting Greece relief from its crippling debt. And that perception was fueled on Thursday when the German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, suggested that Greece would get its best shot at a substantial cut in its debt only if it was willing to give up membership in the European common currency (they mean Grexit here, of course, they just don’t like to use the word).

“Ich werbe nur dafür, dass Sie heute nicht meinen – jetzt ist das Thema erledigt, jetzt haben wir noch mal einen da zum Bösewicht erklärt. Ich bin so abgehärtet in einem langen politischen Leben, dass mich das nicht aus der Bahn wirft.”

I’ll Bash Germany With The Best Of Them

But… How is it that its critics blame Germany for the high unemployment, declining living standards, and riots to their South?

Germany

If this were a football game, the referee should call unnecessary roughness for piling on Germany. The American Left led by Paul Krugman (The Harm Germany Does and Those Depressing Germans) excoriates Germany for forcing austerity on the rest of Europe. The U.S. Treasury and others (no newcomer to spending) demands that miserly Germany spend more to pull the PIIGS (Portugal, Italy, Ireland, Greece and Spain) out of their economic doldrums…

I interpret the liberals’ German bashing as having an entirely different motivation – their inherent dislike of economic success… In the liberal mind set, success must be equally shared. If one person, company, or country is better off, it must be at the expense of those who are less well off. We need to even things out in their zero-sum world.

PS: And I’m going to go even further out on the limb tonight defending Germany by predicting that they will finally – after 19 encounters? –  beat Italy.

Springtime For Merkel And Germany

In the end, the Cypriots swallowed the bitter medicine. Facing national humiliation and a bleak future many complain their small nation has been forced to succumb to the will of a larger, merciless power – Germany.

Cyprus

And the Germans also have a clear and consistent analysis of the problem. They believe that fiscal profligacy or faulty business models lie at the heart of the crisis – and the solution is austerity, allied to structural reform. There are many who argue that this prescription is dangerous. But the anti-austerians have failed to come up with a set of alternative policies that is coherent enough to turn the intellectual tide.

…This Germanophobia is unfair. Behind all the shouting and the wrangling, German taxpayers will once again be funding the biggest single share of yet another eurozone bailout.

Euro Crisis Is Over Or Something

So have a Happy New Year already.

Germany’s finance minister says the worst of euro area’s debt crisis appears to be over after three years of worries over Greece and other members of the group of 17 European Union countries that use the single currency.

Meanwhile…

Austerity in action.

Berlin’s mantra about spending cuts in the eurozone is bringing unemployment and spreading hopelessness across Europe.

So take your pick, it’s both.

“I think we have the worst behind us.”