Germany frustrated at Europe’s lack of German-ness?

Up late in the hotel tonight comparing loan offers, and it looks like we have a winner!  Tomorrow (technically “today”) we will meet with the home inspectors and I should be e-mailing scanned copies of the loan documents that I have tucked away on my iPhone.

So how to wind down from a lot of furious number-crunching?  A little late-night blogging!

I downloaded the free New York Times app onto my iPhone yesterday after hearing nice things about it and have found the nice things to be pretty accurately conveyed.  In my perusing the articles during the drive (Beautiful Wife was doing the driving, mind you), I came across this article on Germany’s position in the “Greek Tragedy” unfolding in Europe: “Euro Unity? It’s Germany That Matters” by Celestine Bohlen (3/9/2010, from Bloomberg News).

I recommend clicking through to read the entire article, but I will present the beginning and ending paragraphs here in the event that they may interest you.


Ten years after the euro, it’s still all about Germany, which isn’t the way it was supposed to be.

In the run-up to the common currency’s debut in 1999, the air was thick with talk about harnessing Germany’s economic power, then enshrined in the mark. A failure to move toward monetary union would lead only to “a preponderant influence of Germany,” Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the former president of France, said in a 1997 interview in the French daily Le Monde.

Now, as the European Union thrashes out a possible rescue plan for debt-stricken Greece, the importance of Germany has been thrown back into relief. President Nicolas Sarkozy of France can come out and pledge all the support to Greece he wants, but in the end, it’s Germany that matters.

Of course, it would, indeed, be fascinating irony if the move to a common currency was greatly (though, admittedly not completely) motivated by a desire to reduce the influence of Germany only to have the consequence of that move a decade later to be an enhancement of Germany’s influence.  Prophecy will have its way…

Closing paragraphs:

So that leaves Germany to set the example. “There is really no alternative to the path Germany has taken,” Axel Weber, president of the Bundesbank — whom some see succeeding Jean-Claude Trichet as the president of the European Central Bank — is quoted as saying in “The Euro: The Politics of the New Global Currency,” by David Marsh.

In other words, the Germans will be vindicated in their long-held view that for the euro to survive, other countries will have to be, well, more German.

There are the bookends — feel free to read the details in between!  As we know, it is, indeed, Germany that matters.

One thought on “Germany frustrated at Europe’s lack of German-ness?

  1. Steve

    I’ve been following this story fairly close. A lot of newspapers over the internet.

    The EU might have a common currency, but individual countries still determine their own budget and spending patterns. Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain have gotten themselves into a sovereign debt crisis. One German newspaper referred to them as the “PIGS.”

    The gut reaction of the Germans is to stiff-arm Greece and other countries. A “wallow in your own mess” attitude. It does affect the Euro for all nations, however.

    Consequently, the Germans have adopted a negotiating position which says, “we want more EU centralization of the budgetary process”. A lot of member states are bucking at that, because it basically proposes a further loss in sovereighty.

    But nothing has been decided yet. As Sherlock Holmes said, “the game is afoot!”

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