Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

EU: The end of all-powerful Germany
To Vima, Athens ^ | 5/24/2012 | Giorgos Malouhos

Posted on 05/25/2012 12:11:16 AM PDT by bruinbirdman

The advent of a new administration in Paris has shifted the balance of power in the European Union away from Berlin and German austerity — a development that has been welcomed in Athens as a source of renewed hope and a light at the end of the tunnel for the Greek population.

by Giorgos Malouhos

With regard to what we have seen in recent years, something changed at yesterday’s extraordinary summit: there were no “guidelines” prepared a few hours in advance by the German chancellor and the French president. François Hollande did not adhere to the “tradition” established by Nicolas Sarkozy. His “baptism of fire” in Brussels was “direct” and not shielded by Berlin.

The summit also had another peculiarity. For the first time in many years, Germany had to contend with an agenda that was not dictated by Berlin, and in particular with issues linked to economic growth. No concrete decisions were taken on Wednesday night, but an important development clearly emerged: Germany’s hegemony has been called into question by Europe. And its leaders in Berlin, who are acutely aware this change, already feel they have been dethroned.

The fact that German pre-eminence is now being contested will have a direct impact on Greece. Before yesterday's summit began, the German central bank made public a report which argues that no further efforts should be made to accommodate Greece, whose bankruptcy would at least amount to a final outcome for what is now an ongoing saga… At the same time, François Hollande reaffirmed his support and confidence in the Greece and its people.

The new balance of power that is emerging in Europe is evident in the conclusions of the summit: “We will ensure that European structural funds and instruments are mobilised to bring Greece on a path towards growth and job creation.”

New balance of power in Europe

Germany’s hegemony in Europe is now on the wane. As many commentators in the German press have pointed out, Angela Merkel is more than ever isolated with regard to her partners. The reality is that her policy has no allies. Now that it has been rejected by international organisations and the United States, which have adopted the line advocated by Paris and Madrid, there is no one to defend it.

So what can we expect the Germans to do? Will they start over and adapt to the new realities as though nothing had happened? Certainly not. They will refuse to back down and fight on. They have the political will and the power to do that. But they are no longer in total control, and they will no longer be the sole arbiters of policy. And this is the change that is the focus of enormous hopes Europe, and especially in Greece.

Conditions faced by our country have changed radically over recent weeks to a point where Greece will now have an opportunity to fight for a better future. Of course, as a majority of our partners have consistently pointed out, we will have to make good on our promises. There is no denying this fact. But at the same time, no one anticipated the new balance of power in Europe which emerged yesterday.

The “commitments” that we are obliged to honour, and which we should honour, are no longer caught in the grip of an impenetrable dogma that no one is allowed to touch. The parameter of “economic growth”, which has now been tabled, is a game changer.

Fanaticism has become the major danger

Greece can base its position on growth, and, perhaps even more tellingly, it can fight more effectivley against an austerity that served to hide a German nationalist approach. Berlin is no longer the sole dealmaker, which means that we can now expect to achieve results, for example, in the area of privatisations, and the energy sector. And there is no denying the critical importance of progress towards these goals.

Having emerged from the tunnel of despair which was the sole outcome of German hegemony, it is time for Greece to show that it intends to become a genuine European state – and not one that needs to be shored up. In any case, we will have to do what is absolutely necessary for our survival either within or outside Europe. But all of this will be made much easier now that we have been released from the suffocating position we were forced to endure.

Since yesterday, our control over the future has grown considerably. This is a positive development, but one that must now be reflected in politics – and, let’s not forget, politics is the art of the possible. It follows that fanaticism has become the major danger. And it is worth wondering how we should oppose the many fanatics that have emerged on all sides of the political spectrum. The first observation and the one that should be emphasised today is that, in spite of all that has been said, the outlook for Greece has improved considerably.

Now is the time to focus on the light at the end of the tunnel. Now we have the opportunity to fight to change our destiny. Europe is no longer what it was a few weeks ago. The context is different, and the change that has emerged has resulted from the expression of the will of two peoples: the people of France and the people of Greece. The French have exercised their power to contest the will of an all-powerful Germany, which had completely subjugated their former president to the point where he could no longer remain in office. The Greeks showed they had the strength to demonstrate their discontent through an unequivocal anti-austerity vote. Now that all-powerful Germany has been forced to retreat, a major obstacle to Greece’s future in Europe has now been removed. We should show that we have understood this change and that we are willing to fight for our future. At least we have the conditions in which such a fight is possible.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Crime/Corruption; Foreign Affairs; Germany; News/Current Events; Russia; United Kingdom
KEYWORDS: europeanunion; france; germany; greece; russia; unitedkingdom
Or is it?
1 posted on 05/25/2012 12:11:18 AM PDT by bruinbirdman
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

It’s wishful thinking from a Greek.

Germany still holds the cards. The treaty forbids (and requires a unanimity to alter - and Northern Europe is still solidly with the Germans which the author leaves out) eurobonds, and France has only turned to align with Club Med because their credit rating it heading down and they want to be able to use Germany’s credit card in the future too.

It’s looking more and more like Germany has decided cutting the Greeks loose is less expensive than keeping them on the German taxpayer’s tit forever.

Greece hasn’t faced any ‘austerity’, they’re been living beyond their means, and on the goodwill of northern Europe, for too long.

Their real ‘austerity’ will be felt when Merkel says the milk is all gone. Then Greeks who want to live on taxes, but pay no taxes, will have to choose.

2 posted on 05/25/2012 12:22:17 AM PDT by Gunslingr3
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

The rats have been promised FREE CHEESE in return for voting Socialist for two generations.

Now that they are out of money to pay for the cheese, the rats still WANT the free cheese. After all, they ‘Paid” for it.

And the Pols are terrified to tell the rats the truth, that the money they ‘paid’, was already spent on giving those that came before them their free cheese.

3 posted on 05/25/2012 12:23:29 AM PDT by tcrlaf (Election 2012: THE RAPTURE OF THE DEMOCRATS)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gunslingr3
"and France has only turned to align with Club Med because "<

Does anyone remember Sarkozy's Club Med efforts? Beyond EU countries, it included North Africa.

He even sent his wife over to seduce Ghadafi into the plan.


4 posted on 05/25/2012 12:34:16 AM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." -- Ayn Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

As Rush has often said, whoever pays for you controls you.

If you can’t support yourself, you don’t control yourself.

This article is all about how Greece is no longer under the control of Germany, but who is paying for Greece, if they are bankrupt? It’s nonsensical. The article is idiocy.

5 posted on 05/25/2012 12:39:32 AM PDT by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gunslingr3
"It’s looking more and more like Germany has decided cutting the Greeks loose . . . ."

Return of the Drachma means the end of the Euro Zone grand single currency, consolidated socialist experiment. They all know that no one would buy any euro denominated sovereign debt and EU is not ready to give up yet.

Look for EU and Greece, in the end, to compromise.

Look for EuroBonds, probably in 2013.


6 posted on 05/25/2012 12:42:19 AM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." -- Ayn Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

The Greeks can now dictate to Germany all they want, just as long as they choose not to eat.

7 posted on 05/25/2012 1:16:26 AM PDT by Navy Patriot (Join the Democrats, it's not Fascism when WE do it and the law is what WE say it is.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

Germany public debt is 94% of GDP

Portugal public debt is 103% of GDP

Ireland public debt is 157% of GDP

Italy public debt is 118% of GDP

Ireland public debt is 157% of GDP

Greece public debt is 177% of GDP

8 posted on 05/25/2012 1:22:16 AM PDT by moonshot925
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 6 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

9 posted on 05/25/2012 1:25:02 AM PDT by moonshot925
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: tcrlaf

Ponzi, is that you?

10 posted on 05/25/2012 1:55:39 AM PDT by galloway15
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

Certainly is not, unless the EU does break apart violently. 27 member states agreed by treaty to copy Germany in terms of economic and political structure. The vast majority of citizens do not know this. It’s quite entrenched now.

11 posted on 05/25/2012 2:10:17 AM PDT by Olog-hai
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Gunslingr3
Greece got no free money. It’s all been loans. Things should have gotten better at least, yes? but they’re having their feet held to the fire with the demand that all the military hardware they've been buying as part of the deal has to be paid off first, before anything else within the country can be dealt with.

Remember, the EU runs by the social market economy by law—there is no alternative. They are utterly bigoted against what they call the “Anglo-Saxon economic model” and have been spreading the propaganda that it does not work—in spite of the clear facts being that the liberals in the Anglo-Saxon economies have abandoned the free market in favor of Marxist-influenced policies, and even social market-like economic policy.

Incidentally, I haven’t seen anyone’s opinion of the EU’s Stability and Growth Pact (note the second word), which obliges member states of the eurozone to keep their deficits within 3 percent of GDP. No eurozone member achieved this—and only Germany did it last year, and they didn’t practice the kind of austerity that other eurozone nations have been obliged to. I don’t see it lasting, myself, because even Germany’s economy is being dragged down. Watch for a rewrite. The euro was set up to cause a crisis anyhow.
12 posted on 05/25/2012 2:12:38 AM PDT by Olog-hai
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

We’ll see how committed the French are to the Greeks when it comes time for loans and Germany is no longer willing to lend to Greece. Oh, that’s right, France won’t pay either. They’ll push for Euro bonds. What a joke...

13 posted on 05/25/2012 4:21:20 AM PDT by Old Teufel Hunden
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Navy Patriot

I think not. Germany will try to keep things going but the EU is doomed by poor fiscal policies and an entitlement mind set. Look to see things fall apart fast in about 9 to 15 months. Greece will need food drops and be glad to get it. Europe is about to under go major changes—and they will be violent and sobering. In the end Germany will be on top again—that or Russia.

14 posted on 05/25/2012 4:48:15 AM PDT by Forward the Light Brigade (Into the Jaws of H*ll)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 7 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman
I disagree.
The EU is Germany's vehicle to eventual complete control of Europe - economically rather than with the old panzer tanks and black boots.
15 posted on 05/25/2012 4:50:33 AM PDT by elpadre (AfganistaMr Obama said the goal was to "disrupt, dismantle and defeat al-hereQaeda" and its allies.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

Note to France..
Your visions of superiority over Germany haven’t worked out too well in the past.
Be careful.

16 posted on 05/25/2012 4:52:32 AM PDT by Vinnie (A)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

The global economic model is fundamentally broken. Why is this? Fundamentally, its because we don’t need all the people we have to produce all the goods & services the population needs. So we have excess people who rely on the Welfare (or workfare) state for their livelihood.

There is only one way to keep the model running. That is to let Governments continue to accumulate massive amounts of debt but make that debt manageable—perhaps even profitable. And the way to do that is the Zero Interest Rate Program (ZIRP). Japan has been doing that since the early 90s. When the return on everything else is negative, the Rich will flock to Government securities that pay zero (or even negative) interest in order to preserve their wealth.

Does it work? Yes and no. It achieves torpid (zombie-like) stability at the expense of real growth. Because you can’t get real growth from Government debt. Especially debt that just appears out of thin air. They are hoping that the current approach will just paper things over until the next big thing (world war?) happens and sets everything “right” again.

17 posted on 05/25/2012 5:21:35 AM PDT by rbg81
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: bruinbirdman

This guy lives in Wonderland.

The socialists can bluster all they want, but at the end of the day, “money talks & everything else walks”. Germany has the money. France does not.

The Euro crisis is coming down to 2 outcomes. Either Greece leaves the Euro, or Germany leaves the Euro.

With Hollande’s election in France, the pressure on Germany increases to finance the Greek fiscal black hole, & encourages the other PIIGS to line up at the trough for more unsustainable debt. Germany may well decide the Euro is not worth bankrupting itself, especially since Greece refuses to mend its ways. Germany must be looking enviously at Britain, which has no obligation to support the Euro.

18 posted on 05/25/2012 5:43:53 AM PDT by Mister Da (The mark of a wise man is not what he knows, but what he knows he doesn't know!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: rbg81
"It achieves torpid (zombie-like) stability at the expense of real growth."

Perceptive. There are ad hominem quotes from the Japanese man on the street to the effect, "Why do we need growth? We are the third largest economy. We have everything we need. I am satisfied."


19 posted on 05/25/2012 12:41:29 PM PDT by bruinbirdman ("Those who control language control minds." -- Ayn Rand)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 17 | View Replies]

To: elpadre


20 posted on 05/25/2012 3:41:46 PM PDT by Olog-hai
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 15 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794 is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson