Facts do not support this prejudice!
At issue are the imbalances in trade and current accounts. Greece’s current account deficit with Germany is Germany’s current account surplus with Greece. The balance of the current account between 2 countries reflects the transfer of wealth between the 2 countries from ordinary business transactions (exports, services, imports, financial transfers like interest).
Below are the numbers of the Greek current account balance with Germany from 2007-10, put in relation with the total current account balance of Germany:
|Current account||Shares of current accounts|
|(BN EUR)||(BN EUR)||of Greece||Germany|
|Revenue from abroad|
|Services (e. g. tourism)||680.500||13.782||11%||1,8%|
|Total revenue from abroad||5.361.403||24.775||11%||0,5%|
|Services (e. g. tourism)||777.543||3.927||6%||0,6%|
|Other expense (e. g. interest)||614.084||9.837||18%||1,2%|
|Total expenses abroad||4.750.575||42.397||12%||0,8%|
|Net foreign deficit (current account)||610.828||-17.622||15%||2,9%|
Sources: Bank of Greece for Greek figures; Deutsche Bundesbank for German figures.
Conclusions from the above:
1. Only 15% of Greece’s current account deficit during this period are accounted for by Germany. If one focuses one’s entire ire at Germany, one forgets that there are another 85% of Greece’s current account deficit which go on the account of other countries. Which countries are those? What are they being blamed for by Greeks?
2. Germany’s suplus with Greece accounts for 2,9% of the Germany’s total current account surplus. So don’t be surprised when Germans don’t get the point that their well-being depends on surpluses generated from Greece.
3. Greece’s imports from Germany account for 0,7% of Germany’s total exports. So don’t be surprised when Germans don’t get heart attacks when confronted with the risk of losing Greece as an export market.
Bottom line: Greeks should allow facts to enter their considerations when they judge the importance of the Greek economy to Germany.