After the Euro Summit in Brussels: Thus fails Europe

Thanks to a loathsome alliance, Merkel and Schäuble have been able to impose all of Germany’s demands on Greece. The result is a regime of sanctions and coercion.

The Greek euro

It’s beautiful: the Greek euro. Foto: dpa

„If the euro fails then Europe fails“, Chancellor Angela Merkel once said. But Europe also fails if the monetary union degenerates into an authoritarian regime of sanctions and coercion. That is precisely what happened at the chaotic Euro Summit in Brussels.

In an unprecedented walkover, Merkel and her Finance Minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, have imposed all of Germany’s demands. They boil down to punishing Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras and his Syriza party, and making a ward of Athens.

Not only are East German Treuhand style privatisation plans next on the cards, the hated troika is once again set to take centre stage in Hellas. At the same time, the parliament is being stripped of its power; it must rubber-stamp all austerity and reform demands, and allow automatic cuts to its budgets.

It was our admired Mr. Schäuble who conceived this coup. With his now infamous Grexit paper he had already set the course prior to the summit. In doing so, he accommodated the wishes of countries such as Finland, which want to force Greece out of the euro and which have been demanding collateral for any future aid.

Dieser Beitrag ist die Übersetzung eines Kommentars von Brüssel-Korrespondent Eric Bonse nach dem Eurogipfel. Deutschsprachige Version.

Hardliners from Helsinki

The alliance with the Finns is not new; Schäuble has been banking on the hardliners from Helsinki for years. With their help, he also imposed his terms upon Cyprus. This time however the right-wing populist „Finns Party“ are part of the government in Helsinki – a loathsome alliance, of which Schäuble should be ashamed.

Just as shameful is the way Merkel and Schäuble have snubbed their traditional partnerships. After forging their alliance with Finland and other hardliners, they simply ignored all demands from Italy or France.

It’s no wonder that the Italian press is already referring to a new Berlin Wall. France too is appalled at the authoritarian and egotistical German approach; Schäuble’s threat of a „temporary“ Grexit had President Francois Hollande seeing red. He called the proposed five-year Grexit unacceptable, insisting that Greece remain in the eurozone.

German fiscal pact

Hollande successfully averted the temporary Grexit – but at what price? The debt relief that Paris was demanding prior to the summit is now off the table. Instead, Athens is obliged to implement the German fiscal pact this very week – precisely the strict budget regulations that Hollande wanted to get rid of following his election win in 2012!

One is almost tempted to admit that the Greek ex-Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis was right. On the Friday before the summit he cautioned about Schäuble in his blog, accusing him of wanting to make an example of Greece in order to discipline France. Varoufakis certainly wasn’t far off the mark.

Translation: Hans Kellett

Einmal zahlen
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Europäer aus dem Rheinland, EU-Experte wider Willen (es ist kompliziert...). Hat in Hamburg Politikwissenschaft studiert, ging danach als freier Journalist nach Paris und Brüssel. Eric Bonse betreibt den Blog „Lost in EUrope“ (lostineu.eu). Die besten Beiträge erscheinen auch auf seinem taz-Blog

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