Germans Tired Of Being Cast As The Euro Zone’s Scapegoats

But once they take a nap and rest a little bit, they won’t be so tired anymore.

Scapegoats

Sometimes Germany was too weak, sometimes too strong. Or, as Henry Kissinger, a former American secretary of state, put it, referring to Germany just after unification in 1871, it was “too big for Europe, but too small for the world”. Today, Mr Simms (Cambridge University) argues, “it sits uneasily at the heart of an EU that was conceived largely to constrain German power but which has served instead to increase it, and whose design flaws have unintentionally deprived many other Europeans of sovereignty.”

The question is whether Germany can use its power by unapologetically leading. Given Germany’s past, its political culture militates against even trying.

“It’s nice to go to a conference of ‘young leaders’, but you don’t want a conference of ‘junge Führer’.”

Rich Germans Actually The Euro Zone Po Folks

As recently reported, rich Germans have suddenly and inexplicably become the poor men of Europe, relatively speaking.

Poor

According to the latest ECB Vermögensstudie (wealth study), the Cypriots, of all people, are among the richest citizens in the euro zone. Germans, on the other hand, have come in at last place.

Wait a second. Wasn’t there something recently about Cyprus striking a 10-billion euro bailout deal with the European Union? I must have got that wrong (or the Cypriots certainly got that right).

Ausgerechnet die Zyprer gehören zu den reichsten Bürgern der Euro-Zone, Deutschland steht am Ende der Rangliste.

 

Europe’s Largest And Most Prosperous Nation Shocked About Being Treated Unfairly

The intense negative reactions to the Cyprus bailout program, including the constant comparisons made to Germany’s Nazi past, appear to have taken many Germans by complete surprise. Most simply cannot understand why people do not like them just because they are big and strong.

Merkel

Germany has contributed more than 220 billion euros, or $280 billion, pledged through loans and financial support packages for Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain, all negotiated with those countries’ euro zone partners, for instance. And yet unfair allegations continue to be made.

Nor were Germans alone in insisting on reforms from those European partners seeking financial assistance. The Netherlands, Finland and Austria are frequently mentioned as countries that hold a similar position, yet Germany always ends up being the target of anger.

“We just don’t get it,” one German politician was quoted as saying. “It’s as if they don’t like us just because we are big and strong, because of our affluence and our power. It’s as if they resent our very existence because of this and because of the new soft hegemony we are now practising in Europe. They feel that we are materialistic, hedonistic, egotistical and shallow. I don’t know, in the end they’re just envious and jealous.”

“I mean,” he then continued. “It’s not is if we were some sinister dominating powerhouse like the USA or anything, spreading its corruptive capitalistic influence too widely around the globe the way it does, smothering the rest of us with it’s commercial and materialistic view of life and the world. We’re just well-intentioned Germans, remember?”

“Germany acts in solidarity so that crisis countries will have a perspective in the future. I wish that those people at the top — the president of the E.U. Commission and the E.U. president — would defend Germans against unfair allegations.”

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.