Illustrious? At Risk?

What Germany are these journalists writing about?

Merkel

Merkel’s illustrious reign is at risk of being tarnished. Huh?

That nobody really much cares about or follows what is going on in Germany is one thing but to start churning out science fiction about a parallel German universe is simply irresponsible.

There is nothing “illustrious” about Angela Merkel’s “reign” and there is absolutely, positively no risk that it could become tarnished. It already is tarnished. It can’t get more tarnished than it already is, in fact. Ask any German on the street and he/she will tell you. The journalists at CNBC ought to consider giving that a try.

Sakrileg, the German word for sacrilege: the violation or misuse of what is regarded as sacred. I’m about to go there. Has German Chancellor Angela Merkel been a disaster for Europe, and is her prolonged tenure at the Federal Chancellery extending the region’s problems rather than holding them back?

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Meet The New Crisis

Same as the old crisis. So like what, me worry?

Crisis

“I think there is no need to talk about a euro crisis,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said after Italian voters defeated the referendum on constitutional amendments. “I think we should see the situation in Italy with a certain calmness. That is how democratic and constitutional processes work in the member states. The Italians have decided, that is to be respected. They will make the best of it.”

I admire his serenity (Greece, Brexit, Italy…). And I’d also like to know what kind of tranquilizers this guy is on.

Die Lage in Italien heute besser als vor zwei Jahren.

It’s Good To Be In A Crisis

Money is like water (or maybe like beer). It has to go somewhere. And 40 billion euros just made its way to Germany.

Crisis

While fear has driven money away from Greece and Spain and co, making the government cost of repaying debt in these countries seem prohibitive, in Germany it has been quite different. Fear has boosted Germany coffers…

One thing is for sure, putting it in Greek bonds is risky. Spanish, Italian and Portuguese bonds don’t seem much safer either. But German bonds, in contrast, feel as safe as a safe house in a land with no crime. In fact so safe are German government bonds or bunds, perceived to be, that there have been times when the yields on some of them have been negative.

So actually, Germany has done rather well out of fear created by the euro crisis – or should that be the other way around – a euro crisis created by fear?

And We Don’t Trust That Dad Gum Internetz Neither

One in seven Germans shuns the Internet completely.

Shun

Those are actual Germans up there shunning the actual Internet with an actual laptop, I think.

Totally unrelated PS: Profiteering: Crisis Has Saved Germany 40 Billion Euros

Mutually Assured Disillusionment

And here you thought that the Germans could bitch and moan about Europe.

Moan

And boy can they ever. But the reigning Weltmeister of Whining is now suddenly getting some unexpected stiff competition from France, of all places (with Spain, Italy and Greece picking up speed in the griping department, too).

“No European country is becoming more dispirited and disillusioned (with Europe) faster than France,” according to a Pew Research Center report, released in Brussels and Washington. “The French are negative about the economy, with 91 percent saying it is doing badly, up 10 percentage points from 2012.”

France’s malaise with the European Union’s outlook is more similar to sentiment in Spain, Italy and Greece than it is to the mood in Germany, which is the only EU nation of eight surveyed where at least half the public backed giving more power to Brussels to deal with the economic crisis.

So let’s get with it already, Germany. This race ain’t near over with. We (as in you) can do this. When the going gets tough, the tough get moaning.

“Deutsche leben mental auf ihrem eigenen Kontinent.”

Sure Is Cold In Here

Cold

The issues at stake are not trivial ones. At the core of the Franco-German conflict is no less a matter than the question of how Europe can shake off the current crisis. Merkel is convinced this can only be achieved by implementing reforms — austerity, liberalization of the labor market and restructuring of social welfare systems.

But Hollande is unwilling to let Germany impose its model on France. He fears the European recession will only worsen if Berlin succeeds in implementing its austerity plans.

Even in the euro crisis, Germany is reluctant to be seen as sole leader. It badly needs a French economic revival to have a plausible partner at the top again.

“This is why, ultimately, it does not matter whether they like each other—that has not been the case for years.”

Germany Honestly Not Seeking Hegemony In Europe I Swear

German Chancellor Angela Merkel rejected again today claims that her country was seeking hegemony in the European Union.

Hegemony

“We already are the largest economy in Europe,” she might have said. “Like, by a long shot. So why on earth would we want to do that? All we want to do is just keep exercising our predominant influence over all those other namby-pamby nations around us and with time, through peaceful terms and non-aggression, achieve world, I mean, total European domination.”

“Germany has a sometimes complicated role,” she actually said. “Because we are the largest economy – we are not the richest, but we are the largest. Therefore Germany will only act together with the others – hegemony is totally foreign to me.”

Gold-obsessed German Smuggler Drops Plans To Rob Fort Knox

But gets caught at Athens International Airport attempting to smuggle half a ton of gold and silver out of Greece to Germany instead.

Goldfinger

Wait a second. Aren’t the Germans the ones who are supposed to be smuggling their gold (as in Geld) into Greece these days?

The man was trying to board a Lufthansa flight back to Germany when the airline uncovered nearly 1,000 lbs. of what the BBC calls silver “tablets” in a cargo container.

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.