Tuesday

27th Jun 2017

Defensive Germany calls for more EU backing

  • Germany is frequently criticised in other EU countries (Photo: Valentina Pop)

A defensive Germany has said it should be getting more support from the EU institutions against unfair criticism over its role in handling the eurozone crisis.

"Germany is bringing a spirit of solidarity so that ultimately there is a perspective for crisis countries," justice minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger told Wednesday's edition of the Muencher Merkur newspaper.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

"So I wish that individuals at the highest levels of the EU - the commission president and the Council president - would also show solidarity with us and defend Germans against unjust accusations," she added.

Her words come after Germany was the subject of strong criticism for its handling of the Cyprus bailout package, a deal shaped by Berlin but which is likely to result in years of hardship for ordinary Cypriots.

Protests on the island have seen placards with Chancellor Angela Merkel depicted as Hitler. Similar incidences have happened in Greece, another hard-hit bailed-out country. The recent Italian election campaign was also peppered with anti-German sentiment.

Meanwhile, Spain's El Pais newspaper earlier this week ran a guest column by Spanish economist Juan Torres Lopez, in which he wrote: “Angela Merkel, like Hitler, has declared war on the rest of the continent, this time to guarantee Germany its vital economic space.”

Germany has driven the eurozone's response to the crisis, insisting on austerity measures to bring ballooning budget deficits down before it shows financial solidarity.

Germans for their part like what Merkel is doing - she is the most popular politician in Germany - and feel they are within their rights to make demands when they will foot the lion's share of the bailout money.

That Germany is doing the right thing by the eurozone and is not getting its due credit has been increasingly espoused in editorials in some of the countries most influential newspapers, including in the tabloid Bild and in the right-leaning Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

But it is unusual for high-ranking politicians to speak out directly on the subject.

According to Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger: "We have to present these decisions together and we have to defend them together. I have heard much of that yet."

Her statements come the same day that Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble declined to apologise over the €10 billion Cyprus deal.

He put the criticism coming Germany's way down to jealousy.

"It is always like this, also in the classroom. When you sometimes have better results, then the others, who have more difficulties, are a bit jealous," he told the ZDF broadcaster.

The crisis and the Germanophobia it has sparked has caused unease among some Germans.

“The drama over Cyprus has made clear that the euro zone crisis is developing into a struggle over German hegemony in Europe,” journalist Jakob Augstein wrote in Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine.

"Just like twice before in our recent history, the Germans are falling deeper and deeper into conflict with their neighbours - regardless of the cost," he added.

The "hegemony" point was also used by Jean Asselborn, foreign minister of Luxembourg, normally an ally of Germany.

"Germany does not have the right to decide on the business model for other countries in the EU," he said after Berlin had described Cyprus' business model - which is very similar to Luxembourg's - as finished.

In an interview with Reuters, he accused Germany and others critical of Cyprus of "striving for hegemony, which is wrong and un-European."

Security and defence to top EU summit

Pressure is mounting for social media platforms to remove any online content deemed to incite terrorism. Draft conclusions, seen by EUobserver, have made the issue a top priority in leaders' talks next week.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Talks Should Insist on Ending Reprisals Against Critical Voices
  2. European Free AllianceEFA Is Looking for a New Intern
  3. Malta EU 2017Conservation of Atlantic Tunas: International Measures Become EU Law
  4. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceCan Statin Therapy Interfere With a Physically Active Lifestyle?
  5. EPSUOn Public Services Day, Stop Austerity! Workers Need a Pay Rise!
  6. EGBAOnline Gambling: The EU Court Rejects Closed Licensing Regimes In Member States
  7. World VisionFaces of Today, Leaders of Tomorrow: Join the Debate on Violence Against Girls - 29 June
  8. ECR GroupThe EU Must Better Protect Industry from Unfair Competition
  9. Malta EU 2017Better Protection for Workers From Cancer-Causing Substances
  10. EPSUAfter 9 Years of Austerity Europe's Public Sector Workers Deserve a Pay Rise!
  11. Dialogue PlatformGlobalised Religions and the Dialogue Imperative. Join the Debate!
  12. UNICEFEU Trust Fund Contribution to UNICEF's Syria Crisis Response Reaches Nearly €200 Million

Latest News

  1. EU fines Google €2.4 bn over online shopping
  2. EU Commission could get say on Russia gas pipeline
  3. G20 is 'test run' for Trump-era climate governance
  4. Political conditions for EU funds prompt debate
  5. May defends proposal on EU citizens' rights
  6. UK visitors to pay into EU budget after Brexit
  7. Duda project could trump Visegrad Group
  8. China's 16+1 foray into Central and Eastern Europe