„During the long night of negotiations over Greece on July 12-13, something fundamental to the European Union cracked. ..Â What changed that night was the Germany that Europeans have known since the end of World War II.Â On the surface, the negotiations were about averting a Greek exit from the eurozone (or â€œGrexitâ€) and the dire consequences that would follow for Greece and the monetary union. At a deeper level, however, what was at stake was the role in Europe of its most populous and economically most powerful country.“
Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor and still one of the star figures of the German (left) intelligentia, entitles his article in Project SyndicateÂ brutally: „The Return of the Ugly German“. It is the harshest comment I have read so far about the German role in the „Greek crisis“ (which maybe we should call „EU crisis“) and guess it is only a German who can formulate such a comment, but – unfortunately – I agree.
The whole short article is very worth reading.
„Where Europe is concerned, from now on Germany will primarily pursue its national interests, just like everybody else.“Â
This, Fischer states, is a break with the integrative, defensive role Germany has played in Europe since World War II:
„For the first time, Germany didnâ€™t want more Europe; it wanted less. Germanyâ€™s stance on the night of July 12-13 announced its desire to transform the eurozone from a European project into a kind of sphere of influence. „
„The belief that the euro can be used to bring about the economic â€œre-educationâ€ of Europeâ€™s south will prove a dangerous fallacy â€“ and not just in Greece. As the French and Italians well know, such a view jeopardizes the entire European project, which has been built on diversity and solidarity.“
„This was a fateful decision for both Germany and Europe.“
For Joschka Fischer it is clear who is the driving force in this fateful development: Finance Minister Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble. Of course he knows him and quite sure he respects him a lot as an honest personality.
„One wonders whether Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Wolfgang SchÃ¤uble knew what they were doing.“
For Chancellor Merkel he has an answer, it is not very flattering: „Merkel was forced to choose between SchÃ¤uble and France (and Italy).“
For SchÃ¤uble, Fischer does not give an answer: Maybe oneÂ should read the Biography about the 70 years old from the small southern german town Hornberg – or for short (german speaking) readers: the article about SchÃ¤uble on Bazonline.
More about Germany in my Flipboard Magazine „Deutschland beobachten“