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The creation of a German Europe
Material posted: Publication date: 02-04-2013

So, the Cypriots swallowed the bitter pill, having experienced a national humiliation. Now they can see the future in dark colors. Cypriots are unhappy: their little people were forced to obey the will of the great and terrifying powers – Germany.

Cypriot Newspapers have depicted German Chancellor Angela Merkel in the form of a kind Barbara, and Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble even called a “fascist”, thus indulging anti-German sentiment that prevailed now in Greece and Italy.

But germanophobia unfair, since much of the assistance within the Eurozone will again have to pay the German taxpayers. And therefore all charges Germany a neo-Nazi at the same time that Germany is handing out loans for hundreds of billions of euros to their neighbors, is absolutely search.

However, now the European political debate revolves around the themes of stronger German power and the growing dissatisfaction with this power. This is the historical paradox, because the main goal of the European project, starting from 1950-ies, was to approve the following idea: despite all its power, Germany is quite able to coexist comfortably with its neighbours. In many European capitals – in Berlin, Paris, and Brussels – are always talking about the need for a “European Germany” and not “Germanic Europe”.

However, after the crisis in Cyprus increasingly began to appear the outlines of “German Europe” because Europe in the crisis period is driven primarily by the ideas and preferences of the Berlin politicians and officials.

I admit, in the negotiations on the Cyprus problem the initiative belongs to the European Commission, IMF and European Central Bank. And yet, it was clear: without the participation and without the approval of the German government, nothing can be solved. In addition, a key representative of the ECB throughout the crisis were the German Joerg Asmussen, and not the President of Italy, Mario Draghi, why the German accent is stronger and more distinctly heard during the crisis.

The leadership of Germany must wonder how it happened? How the European project, which was to put an end to any hint of conflict between Germany and its neighbours, on the contrary led to the revival of anti-German sentiment? And how long is this standoff going to last?

Partly the answer is: because the risks have become too high, Germany is no longer hesitate to defend its national interests, as well as the survival of the single European currency is now under question, it is the German taxpayers have to fork out for all the various assistance funds.

Besides, the Germans are quite capable to offer a clear explanation of the crisis; in their opinion, the cause of the crisis was fiscal profligacy and the use of defective models, to overcome the crisis through austerity measures, which should be carried out in combination with structural reforms. Many opponents of austerity argue that this recipe is dangerous, but they are still unable to offer any alternative model that would be able to conquer the minds of intellectuals.

So it is necessary to speak not about German power, and other European powers, which until recently was balanced the power of Germany. And here the picture is this: the governments of Spain and Italy, faced with financial problems, weakened. The UK is not a member of the Eurozone, and therefore take it into account we will not.

There is another remarkable feature of the crisis: we almost do not hear the powerful voice of France. As we know, Jean Monnet, Jacques Delors and others, the French have always been proud of the fact that France has always maintained its intellectual leadership in the European project.

For French intellectuals critical bought the idea that Europe should be driven with the Franco-German partnership. This principle is embodied in the decisive action taken by the former President Nicolas Sarkozy with the aim of forming a close partnership with MS Merkel. However, the idea that Europe was moving forward under the direction of “Merkozy”, was always partly illusory, but at least she stressed the desire of France to be in the thick of things.

However, when Francois Hollande disappeared even the slightest hint that France is on par with Germany. Even those Finns took a more active role in solving the Cyprus crisis than the French. In part, President Hollande has shown that disapproves of calls to introduce austerity measures, though a viable alternative is not offered. Hollande did not form the Union of the countries of southern Europe in contrast to the Germans. Moreover, Hollande has not managed to establish normal working relations with MS Merkel. In addition, French officials ceased to play the important role in European Affairs as before. After Jean-Claude Trichet left his post at the helm of the ECB have more French remain; there is, however, one is European Commissioner for internal trade, Michel Barnier, but his political weight is not so great.

Even German politicians are hoping that this is temporary, and once everything settled down and formed new structures of the EU, Germany will have no need to so clearly emphasize their importance. Well, dream beautiful. However, the Eurozone crisis is far from over, and it is not clear what new EU structures will appear after its completion; in addition, it is not clear whether they will weaken or on the contrary will strengthen the power of Germany.

As a result, everyone continues to fill with Germany: she signs the checks, enforce observance of the rules and their formation. And this situation is dangerous not only for Europe but also, ultimately, for Germany itself.

Gideon Rachman


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