Friends that Merkel could do without

Published on 31 July 2012 at 12:23


“Who governs Germany?“ wonders a slightly querulous Handelsblatt. The Düsseldorf business daily points out that the German Chancellor has to contend with a constant stream of “desiderata, requests and threats" from all kinds of parties who want Berlin to make a greater commitment to saving the euro —

Recently many commentators have discovered a vocation to advise Europe’s largest economy on the course of action it should take in response to the crisis. These budding governors can be found in Washington, London, Rome, Luxembourg and Paris.

Among those who have called on Germany to be more enthusiastic in the fight against the crisis, even though “no one asked them” for their opinion, Handelsblatt singles out US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner —

… who descended on the holiday destination of his German counterpart Wolfgang Schäuble, having announced that leaving Europe on the edge of the abyss would only increase the cost of the crisis.

The newspaper discerns another unwanted advisor in the person of ECB Governor Mario Draghi, who has pushed Angela Merkel —

… to allow the ECB to go ahead with the controversial purchasing of more sovereign bonds, thereby activating the ‘bazooka’, which is the term used by the Southern Europeans for the unlimited emission of money from the ECB.

A further surprising inclusion in the circle of “uninvited counselors“ is former British Prime Minister Tony Blair —

… who allegedly said that German taxpayers should guarantee the 8.8 trillion euro mountain of European debt.

And last but not least, Eurogroup President Jean-Claude Juncker, a native of Luxembourg —

… who feels unnecessarily confined by his small homeland. He has criticised Germany for focusing on internal policy in the euro crisis and for ‘wanting to manage other members of the monetary union like subsidiaries.’

In this context, Handelsblatt observes —

Given that the singularity and the dignity of her function have made it impossible for Angela Merkel to respond to these criticisms directly, the leader liberals parliamentary group, Rainer Brüderle, has taken charge of the task. In an allusion to Geithner’s flying visit to Schäuble, he remarked to Handelsblatt: ‘Given the sorry state of the US budget, it is difficult to avoid the impression that the focus on the European debt crisis amounts to a welcome diversion’.

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