Germany’s Merkel Walks a Fine Line on Greek Bailout Talks

Germany’s Merkel Walks a Fine Line on Greek Bailout Talks
German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a media conference after a meeting of eurozone heads of state at the EU Council building, Brussels, July 13, 2015 (AP photo by Michel Euler).

Ever since the last-minute agreement reached last month to reopen negotiations for a third bailout for Greece, Germany has become the target of harsh criticism both in the European Union and the United States. The agreement, which set even harsher terms for reopening talks than what had been on offer before Athens called for a referendum it hoped would strengthen its bargaining position, has been characterized as a “German diktat,” with critics calling the German government vindictive, contemptuous and brutal.

Such criticism stands in stark contrast to perspectives in Berlin, where many policymakers regard the compromise found as a rather bad deal for both sides, and not as a German victory.

Now, as the actual negotiations for the third bailout terms continue in advance of yet another “final deadline” of Aug. 20, German Chancellor Angela Merkel continues to face contradictory pressures. On the one hand, European and international expectations of Germany’s role as a crisis manager and backstop for the eurozone are high. Its willingness to underwrite 27 percent of all European rescue packages to date, based on its relative economic weight in the eurozone, is seen as having been indispensable to holding the monetary union together.

Keep reading for free!

Get instant access to the rest of this article by submitting your email address below. You'll also get access to three articles of your choice each month and our free newsletter:

Or, Subscribe now to get full access.

Already a subscriber? Log in here .

What you’ll get with an All-Access subscription to World Politics Review:

A WPR subscription is like no other resource — it’s like having a personal curator and expert analyst of global affairs news. Subscribe now, and you’ll get:

  • Immediate and instant access to the full searchable library of tens of thousands of articles.
  • Daily articles with original analysis, written by leading topic experts, delivered to you every weekday.
  • Regular in-depth articles with deep dives into important issues and countries.
  • The Daily Review email, with our take on the day’s most important news, the latest WPR analysis, what’s on our radar, and more.
  • The Weekly Review email, with quick summaries of the week’s most important coverage, and what’s to come.
  • Completely ad-free reading.

And all of this is available to you when you subscribe today.