Germany Blamed for Greece’s Problems

From today’s Open Europe news summary:

Thousands of Greeks protest against austerity as Merkel visits Athens; Bild Chief Editor: “The Greece that showed itself in the centre of Athens yesterday does not belong in the euro” During her visit to Athens yesterday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel told Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras that Greece would get the next tranche of its bailout funds in November providing the coalition finalises its latest austerity package and pushes ahead with structural reforms, reports Kathimerini. At a press conference, Merkel said that she had not come as a “taskmaster” but as a “friend and partner”, and praised the country’s efforts in tackling the crisis so far, although she warned that the austerity and reform package “should be seen through”, comparing it with the struggle undertaken by East Germany after re-unification. Open Europe Director Mats Persson is cited in the Telegraphas saying that eurozone leaders are keen to keep Greece in the euro to prevent further contagion spreading to Spain.Thousands of people demonstrated against the visit and the austerity programme yesterday – which included the burning of Nazi flags – in protests that were mostly peaceful but with some outbreaks of violence. The visit was broadly considered a success by the Greek government and media, although reporting the protests on its front page, Bild commented that “Germany does not deserve this”, with chief editor Nikolas Blome arguing that “The Greece that showed itself in the centre of Athens yesterday does not belong in the euro”. Meanwhile Die Welt reports that German coalition MPs have strongly criticised Die Linke co-chairman Bernd Riexinger for “going against German interests” by joining the protests. Kathimerini Kathimerini 2 EUobserver Guardian Independent Times Mail Bild Welt Welt 2 Welt: Schmidt FAZ Süddeutsche Zeit Kathimerini 3 WSJ Irish Independent IHT Telegraph Le Figaro WSJ 2

Germany is blamed for Greece’s problems only because of the misconstructed euro, which allowed profligate countries like Greece, Spain, Italy, and others to borrow at will and at artificially low rates.  Now that the consequences of this misconstruction are evident to all, rather than accept responsibility for problems of its own making, the Greeks are blaming the Germans.  This inevitable animosity between profligate countries and more responsible ones should not exist and would not exist except for the misconstructed European Monetary Union.  Rather than expel Greece from this misconstructed monetary union or attempt to force it to change its profligate ways, Germany should leave.  It should reinstitute the deutsche mark and anchor it in gold. Then it would become apparent to all, most importantly to the Greeks themselves, that their problems can be solved only by themselves and no one else.  Patrick Barron

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