A rocky 2019 and Angela Merkel3 November 2018 | 20:01 | Kathimerini
As we Greeks know well, the decisions of the Commission, the ECB and the European Parliament have a direct impact on our lives. We also know that those who lead them, and their policies, are determined by the most powerful countries. From the start of the crisis, the relationship between Athens and Berlin determined, to a great extent, the attitude of the institutions toward Greece. The cliches of “spendthrift Greeks,” on the one hand, and “German occupiers,” on the other, delayed efforts to create mechanisms that would allow eurozone problems to be handled more effectively. Also, they shaped the image that other Europeans had of the Greeks; this, in turn, affected the policy of member-states and institutions toward Greece. When Greek governments went to Berlin to try to influence policy, Merkel would direct them to the institutions (notably the Eurogroup), where the German opinion would hold sway – and this was usually determined by domestic German concerns.
Today’s developments show that Merkel was right to consider the political cost, as many Germans are uncomfortable with her positions on Greece and on immigration, and this has strengthened her opponents within the Christian Democratic Union and other parties. She did, however, manage to keep the European Union on a steady course and to increase her country’s influence. We will never know if the outcome would have been better if she had been more daring, if she had worked with Emmanuel Macron to strengthen the EU, or whether the end would have then come sooner. What is certain is that the EU is in for a rocky time and Greece’s course has become even more difficult.
© 2019 All rights reserved. Citing Focus Information Agency is mandatory!
All opinions, assessments, and statements, expressed in interviews, are personal and Focus Information Agency bears no responsibility for them.