Tuesday

17th Oct 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.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

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."

Catalonia to declare independence in a few days

Spain's king, Felipe VI, said Catalonia's leaders were breaking up the country's unity as hundreds of thousands of Catalans rallied against police violence at Sunday's referendum.

EU Commission's credibility eroding, says Catalonia

A former commission official who now represents the Catalan government says some European commissioners do not agree with the EU commission's official statement on Catalonia's bid for independence from Spain.

EU stays mute on Catalonia

EU leaders and institutions largely remain silent, despite calls to condemn the brutal police crackdown at polling stations in Catalonia during its disputed independence vote.

Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo

Counting continues, but after his victory in Sunday's election, conservative leader Sebastian Kurz is likely to form a coalition with the far-right and could become one of the most vocal critics of EU policies among the bloc's leaders.

Brexit 'deadlock' prevents move to trade negotiations

EU negotiator Barnier also said after the latest round of Brexit talks that with political will, progress can be achieved in the next two months - in time for the December EU summit to give the green light.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsEU Should Seek Concrete Commitments From Azerbaijan at Human Rights Dialogue
  2. European Jewish CongressEJC Calls for New Austrian Government to Exclude Extremist Freedom Party
  3. CES - Silicones EuropeIn Healthcare, Silicones Are the Frontrunner. And That's a Good Thing!
  4. EU2017EEEuropean Space Week 2017 in Tallinn from November 3-9. Register Now!
  5. European Entrepreneurs CEA-PMEMobiliseSME Exchange Programme Open Doors for 400 Companies Across Europe
  6. CECEE-Privacy Regulation – Hands off M2M Communication!
  7. ILGA-EuropeHealth4LGBTI: Reducing Health Inequalities Experienced by LGBTI People
  8. EU2017EEEHealth: A Tool for More Equal Health
  9. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Tourism a Key Driver for Job Creation and Enhanced Competitiveness
  10. CECENon-Harmonised Homologation of Mobile Machinery Costs € 90 Million per Year
  11. ILGA-EuropeMass Detention of Azeri LGBTI People - the LGBTI Community Urgently Needs Your Support
  12. European Free AllianceCatalans Have Won the Right to Have an Independent State

Latest News

  1. Malta shocked after car bomb kills crusading journalist
  2. Spanish and Catalan leaders continue stand-off
  3. May pleads for more as EU makes Brexit gesture
  4. EU united in backing Iran deal, after Trump criticisms
  5. 'Think of the patients!' cry warring EMA-host cities
  6. In Iceland: Europe woos Arctic allies
  7. Austrian voters reject liberal pro-EU status quo
  8. Turkey urges EU not to break off ties