The Continentalist: Germany’s Euro Counterattack

The Continentalist: Germany’s Euro Counterattack

Nobody can predict how the coming week will unfold in the aftermath of Greece’s parliamentary elections. Nervousness in politics and markets has been increasing, and a Greek exit from the euro can no longer be excluded as a last resort. One thing is certain, however: Germany -- the biggest contributor to the European Union’s rescue umbrella (the European Stability Mechanism) and thus the Greek debt -- is losing patience.

Germany is increasingly turning a deaf ear to calls that it do more, more quickly, to save the euro. This is especially the case for calls coming from London and Washington, which, in German eyes, have either done nothing for Europe (the U.K.) or are doing the wrong things (the U.S. and its continued profligate spending). The German message is pretty clear: European governments must keep their houses in order, because Germany will not be able to bail out everybody.

Against this backdrop, it is important to understand that Germans feel not only that the country’s economic interventions have been misunderstood, but that Germany itself has been treated harshly; it is less and less willing to heed other countries’ requests and recipes for action. Pressure leads to counterpressure. If this dynamic continues, the channels for both communication and compromise will soon cease to exist.

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