A reader by the German-sounding name of Sebastian Schroeder who apparently lives in Patras wrote an extensive comment (reproduced at the bottom of this post) essentially arguing that Germany has made so many unanswered moves so far that it is asking quite a bit to (again) demand of Germany a move (again).
I suppose a marriage counsellor who interviews husband/wife separately comes away from each conversation with the feeling that he has just heard the full truth. Unfortunately, the two truths don’t match one another. If he cannot find common ground between the parties, the marriage will fall apart at great cost to both.
Greece has accomplished a lot of positive things, particularly of late. I hasten to add that Greece didn’t have much of a choice because otherwise the whole problem would have blown-up in its face.
Germany, too – albeit mostly at the last minute – has done quite a few positive things (if prolonging bankruptcy by making new loans is considered a positive thing). I hasten to add that Germany didn’t have much of a choice because otherwise the whole problem would have blown-up in its face.
Regrettably, there are no provisions to dissolve the German/Greek Euro-marriage. So unless both parties want to take chances that the whole problem really blows-up into everybody’s faces, they might want to start looking for a counsellor, a mediator or whatever else is adequate to help find common ground in two opposing – but possibly equally right! – positions.
I suppose it wouldn’t be difficult to fill a room with competent people who can argue that Greece is right. Neither would it be difficult to fill a room with competent people who can argue that Germany is right. The sad truth is — the graveyards of the world are full of people who were right!
Europeans can be quite arrogant when it comes to appraising Americans. In recent times, sophisticated Europeans have expressed dismay over the fact that the two large parties in America cannot find common ground when the future of the country is at stake. Well, Europeans would have the chance to, for once, show Americans how mature they really are by demonstrating amongst each other a behavior which the two large American parties have not yet been able to demonstrate.
So, Europeans, speak up now and show that you are worth your salt, or forever keep your peace!
Letter to the Ekathimerini by Sebastian Schroeder, Patras
Lets see some German/EU Moves and the Greek reactions:
1. Mr Roesler came down 2-3 years ago and offered Greece assistance with the funding of a KfW like institute to support Greek small and medium size companies. The Greek media reaction was to call him a German-Japanese Nazi, the Greek political reaction was non existent.
2. Mr. Reichenbach was sent down to help Greece on more effective absorption of EU funds. The Greek media reaction was to call him Gauleiter, Anarchists have threatend him and his family and burned his car even in Berlin.
3. Germany has offered to support the renewal of the Greek tax system with 180 tax specialists that would have worked for free down here. Greek reaction was negative again while money kept flowing out of the country.
4. Mr. Fuchtel was sent down to establish grassroots connections between German and Greek communities. Media welcomed him with Nazi comments and Greek polticians tried to play smart ass on him.
5. The EU offered Greece already 4 years ago support to overhaul the Asylum System and to establish detention center. Reaction = Zero until GD showed up.
6. The EU supported Greece with money to establish a nationwide cataster. Result is known, money is gone.
7. Mrs. Lagarde offered a nice list… result is known.
All of the above are moves from Germany and the EU that were badly rejected by Greek polticians and also by parts of the Greek population.
In Greece everybody thinks the world is turning around Greece and that everybody is just waiting for the Greek Vouli and money will flow. The decision in the Vouli though is just a first step that will be followed by necessary democratic (parliament) approvals in the other countries.
Don’t overestimate also the power of Merkel and the importance of Greece for the next election campaign. Germany has plenty of challenges within the country that could even bring down Merkel’s anyway shaky CDU/FDP coalition before next fall.
From all European leaders Mrs. Merkel is within her country most likely the most restricted, first of all constitionally and secondly due to her weak coalition partner. In the outside media though she is seen as a leader that decides everything on her own. Something is not fitting!