Bullying Germany gets a free ride with its beggar-thy-neighbour policy - U2 Feedback

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Old 12-14-2008, 08:50 PM   #1
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Bullying Germany gets a free ride with its beggar-thy-neighbour policy

Bullying Germany gets a free ride with its beggar-thy-neighbour policy - Telegraph

This does not come naturally. My father insisted on German au pair girls during my childhood as his gesture towards post-War comity. I later did a stint at Mainz University dabbling in Kant (great) and Hegel (a fraud).

But even Teutophiles who think that Germany has played an enlightened role for 60 years are losing patience with the antics of the finance ministry and Bundesbank, and with the dictatorial turn in Berlin's EU strategy.

Put bluntly, Germany is pursuing a beggar-thy-neighbour policy. It is not fulfilling its responsibilities as the world's top exporter and pivotal power of Europe's monetary union. It is leaching off global demand, even as it patronizes Anglo-Saxons, Latins, and Slavs.

No doubt binge debtors in the Anglosphere are much to blame for this crisis. But Germany rode the boom too. It made those Porsches and BMWs driven by the new rich. Its banks are among the most leveraged in the world.

Nor should we not forget that the European Central Bank set interest rates at recklessly low levels early this decade to help Germany out of a slump. Can this be separated from the property bubbles in Club Med, Holland, Ireland, Scandinavia, and Eastern Europe now causing such grief?

So Brian Cowen – already the most reviled Taoiseach since the creation of the Irish state – is bludgeoned into a second vote. This is what now passes for EU statecraft. A tactical case can be made, that fear will induce Irish voters to change their minds as GDP contracts by 4pc next year. Even if that proves correct, will it convince anybody that the European Project is advancing with democratic assent?

What if the Irish vote 'No' again? Will Germany carry out its threat to "suspend" them from the EU, and thereby risk a final revulsion against Europe and the unravelling of the post-War order?

One notes that Germany has acquired the taste for bullying small nations. Mr Steinbrück threatened to "take a whip" to Switzerland. The sooner Germans take a whip to Mr Steinbrück and all he stands for, the better. Otherwise the rest of us will have to start examining our options.
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