Do something, Mrs Merkel!

Published on 12 June 2012 at 12:04

Following in the footsteps of the The Economist, whichurged Angela Merkel to “start the engines” of the Eurozone economy, Il Sole 24 Ore directly addresses the German Chancellor with a headline which reads, “Schnell, frau Merkel”. The English language version of the Italian business newspaper notes that in spite of the announcement of a bailout for the Spanish banks, risk premiums on Spanish and Italian debt are increasing. The German Chancellor must react by sending “a strong message to the markets: Europe exists, and it will continue to exist. Period”, writes the daily’s director, Roberto Napoletano. He continues —

Since June 5, the publication has been publishing editorials by Europe’s founding fathers [including Helmut Schmidt and Jacques Delors] to remind everyone that the next summit, scheduled for the end of this month, cannot be the 25th meeting in a row where no decision is made.

Ms. Merkel, you can’t go on like this. You will not go very far if you continue to be indifferent to the Greeks’ anger and distant from the Spaniards’ wounded pride, the Italians’ fears, the French’s anxieties. […] The time for words is over: with a 10-year delay the European political integration design must be completed through concrete steps, which should be implemented immediately.

Napoletano goes on to list three measures, already cited by The Economist: a single guarantee for bank deposits, giving banks direct access to the European Financial Stability Facility, and limited mutualisation of European public debt, which will continue to distinguish between the different interest rates charged to different countries. He concludes —

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If you and your country want to remain the protagonists in Europe, there is no more time to waste. Score not one but at least two or three hits and score them fast so that it will be clear to all that the United States of Europe is indeed a reality and that the euro is no longer attackable.

In the Financial Times, columnist Gideon Rachman, who appears to respond to the remarks in The Economist and Sole 24 Ore, takes the German Chancellor’s side —

While Ms Merkel’s handling of the crisis has not been faultless (whose has?), she has one huge achievement to her name. She has prevented the political extremes from gaining a foothold in the country […] Anybody who thinks that is a phantom danger should take a look at Germany’s neighbours. […] And yet despite the burdens and risks that Germany has already taken on, the country’s government finds itself abused for not doing even more. Isolating and berating Berlin, while trying to force the country to underwrite the finances of the whole of the eurozone, is a politically dangerous course. The rise of far-right nationalists in Greece or the Netherlands is deeply regrettable. The rise of the far right in Germany would be a disaster.

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