Athens “must leave the euro now”

Published on 14 May 2012 at 11:32

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Given the persistence of the political stalemate in Greece and the risk that the debt crisis facing the country could bring down the single currency, Der Spiegel takes a clear position: "Farewell Athens" says the Hamburg-based weekly on its front page, explaining "why Greece should leave the euro now".

Echoing German concerns about the ability of the Greek political parties to form a government after the elections on May 6, Der Spiegel explains that "for Berlin, the situation in Greece is reminiscent of the Weimar Republic" and evokes the spectre of the regime that emerged in Germany after the First World War. With its stability undermined, it became a breeding ground for Nazism-

The so-called “shame'”of the Germans at [the conditions imposed by the] Versailles Peace Treaty seems to the Greeks to be echoed in the objectives of the financial recovery conditions demanded by Brussels. As in 1920s Germany, it is the extremist parties who benefit.

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While it would be desirable for Greece to leave the euro zone, Der Spiegel notes,

Nobody can force the Greeks to leave the euro. But it is clear that it would be in their own interest. ...The exit of Greece from the euro zone is the only chance for the country to recover. The Greeks would have their own currency, that they could devalue. This would mean imports would be more expensive and exports would be cheaper ... Solidarity between European countries is not tied to membership of the euro, and this is why other countries must help Greece with its huge debts.

The weekly puts forward another argument: The departure of Greece from the monetary union "would be a strong signal to other bankrupt countries: you don’t blackmail Europe".

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