There was a time when Germans wanted to be Europeans more than to be Germans. European unification was an unshakeable goal. That time is long gone, there’s no doubt about it. With German reunification, this country has learned to be proud again. Of what though? And since then every time there’s a bill to be paid we ask: what’s in it for Germany? The Europeanists of yesteryear have long since grown used to that state of affairs.

But the current smouldering controversy over Greece, the scolding, the jingoistic undertones – that’s going too far. The arrogance of our MPs, officials and cabinet ministers who think they are entitled to denigrate the residents of Greece as stupid, unreliable and lazy is simply beyond the pale. The chancellor’s tactics, which merely invite speculators to drive interest rates up on the Greeks till there’s nowhere to go but to the wall, betray a mind-boggling irresponsibility towards the eurozone – and all for some regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia!

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