Angela Merkel: saviour or tormentor? Spain wants her out...

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11 Sep 2013 11:11 by mac75 Star rating in Valencia. 409 posts Send private message

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Efficient, organised and successful. Arrogant, dominant and authoritarian. Saviour of the European project. Merciless tormentor of anyone south of the "olive line". For some, the eurozone would have collapsed without German leadership. For others, tens of millions of southerners would have been better off without it.
In the runup to German elections this month that will have a crucial bearing on the rest of the continent, the Guardian, Le Monde in France, El País in Spain and La Stampa in Italy asked readers for their view of German leadership in the euro crisis, as well as of the vote itself. The exercise generated a surprisingly robust response from more than 7,000 readers. Such surveys can never be statistically relevant because of the self-selecting nature of the exercise. But among the jokes and hostility – and the inevitable rogue entries from people calling themselves things like Ernst Stavro Blofeld and Philip Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Glücksburg – certain trends were unavoidable.


In the Spanish survey, the overwhelming tone of the response was negative. "Germany is looking to increase its power, imposing solutions that go well in Germany," wrote Alessandro Gimenez. "It's trying to change the southern countries into a cheap workforce, without rights or legal or work security. It perceives the euro as a single currency when it is convenient to do so and as a confederation of currencies when it is in its interest."
Karen González said Germany had profited from the crisis, abandoned the EU's core principles and had "preferred patching things up than undertaking a true cure at the heart of these problems which are now suffocating countries like Spain, which could backfire".

Germany's insistence on fiscal rigour in return for EU bailout funds had made matters worse in countries crying out for a bit of growth to lessen the pain, many readers opined.

Briton Darren Mills said: "The chancellor and her country have stood steadfast behind their neighbours and EU partners. This is even though the path followed by Germany is not the one that will bring acclamation, or even necessarily benefit. Leadership is not necessarily the art of being 100% correct, it is the art of being seen to be strong and at the forefront. Germany has shown leadership, more importantly considered leadership."

On the subject of leadership, some respondents argued Germany had demonstrated too much arrogance, while others sensed a reluctance – born of historical precedence – to assume control. All of which left one anonymous respondent to quip: "If you're being criticised from both sides, you've probably found the centre ground."

That centre ground had enabled Germany to emerge pre-eminent in Europe, according to some. "Germany has managed to pull a coup over the European Central Bank and has almost complete control. Even France, which has a huge economy and powerful global influence, has lost all real influence," remarked Briton Robert Lowe. (The Guardian)


Any views?



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