Blog Post

Views on Grexit: a summary of German media

According to the Spiegel on 22 July  the IMF signalled to EU leaders that it would not participate in further support for Greece. Countries like the Netherlands and Finland have made the involvement of the IMF a prerequisite for their aid. This review looks at recent voices in Germany on the so-called Grexit, which appears […]

By: Date: July 24, 2012

According to the Spiegel on 22 July  the IMF signalled to EU leaders that it would not participate in further support for Greece. Countries like the Netherlands and Finland have made the involvement of the IMF a prerequisite for their aid. This review looks at recent voices in Germany on the so-called Grexit, which appears to become less of a taboo than before.

The Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports on 23 July that the Federal government rejects additional financial aid for Greece. According to government sources it is “inconceivable that Angela Merkel asks once again for permission to the German Bundestag for a third aid package for Greece” as Merkel already struggled to unify her coalition in recent parliamentary decisions on the euro debt crisis. However, Der Spiegel reports that the Federal government says that it has no information about the IMF refuting aid to Greece and that it will hold any decision until the publication of the Troika report on the implementation of reforms in Greece due in autumn 2012. Bavarian Prime Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) also rejects a new rescue package for Greece. According to him, Europe has already gone “to the limit of all justifiable.” 

The German Minister of the Economy Philip Rösler gave on 22 July an interview to the ARD , where he states that he hardly sees any chances for a success of the Greek Reform Programme – and in consequence for the Greek membership in the euro zone. A Grexit “has lost its scare factor”. He is “more than sceptical” regarding the implementation of the requirements of the Troika as prerequisite for further financial aid. “If Greece does not fulfil its obligations, there will be no more payments” said the Minister. In this case, the country would be insolvent, what would trigger probably a discussion in Greece itself.  In Rösler’s words: “The Greek will then finally come to the conclusion that it would be maybe cleverer to exit the euro zone”. Rösler was heavily critizised in his own party for these statements. According to the Spiegel many FDP members even call his behaviour “unprofessional” and try to play down Rösler’s statements, such as Michael Link (Minister of state in the Foreign Office for European Affairs) who says that an exit out of the euro zone cannot be forced. However, the Secretary General of the FDP says that an exit of Greece from the euro zone “could create confidence in the markets.” And, according to the Spiegel on 23 July , FDP chef Rainer Brüderle wants to advance the publication of the Troika report.

According to Die Welt, Germany’s Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble argues implicitly against giving Greece more time to implement the agreed reforms (Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras had asked to shift the commitments by two years). “If there is a delay regarding reforms, Greece will have to make them up”, Schäuble told to the BILD Newspaper. However, he declines to make any prediction on a possible Grexit.

SPD leader Sigmar Gabriel warns about the consequences of a Grexit. Germany would have to face after a Grexit and calls for a little more time for Greece for the implementation of reforms. Green Party leader Jürgen Trittin calls to wait until the assessment of the Troika. Regarding the statements of CDU and FDP, he calls them “hysterical”. The former Minister of Finance Peer Steinbrück, SPD member, states in an interview to the Bild am Sonntag that “in some cases, he had growing doubts that all countries could be held in the euro zone”.

Claus Hulverscheidt writes on 22 July 2012 in the SZ that, in order to “pull the plug” in Greece, it would be either necessary for the Greek to save more, or for the Europeans to give more money. Both are impossible and therefore only bankruptcy and Grexit remain as options. However, this is risky, notably for Greece. Moreover, from a legal point a view, there is no possibility to “throw the Greek out of the euro zone”. Only the ECB would have the indirect means to stop the payments and by doing this to force Samaras to exit. This would involve tremendous risks for the Greek government, even bigger ones compared to those for the remaining euro zone countries. However, he thinks that this step is necessary and underlines that the Greek themselves should be blamed for the situation. It would be very ironic if the former “Blockadepolitiker” (blockade politician) Samaras may be the one filing a petition for bankruptcy.

Hugo Müller-Vogg appreciates in a comment in the BILD on 23 July (“Acropolis Adieu”) the recent statements of the IMF (see above). This signal was overdue and underlines that Greece is neither able nor willing to solve its problems: the political caste does not dare to ask the rich to pay, the bureaucracy is unable to privatise unprofitable state enterprises, and the tax administration is inefficient and corrupt. “The IMF statements, finally, make is easier for the donor countries to say: Acropolis adieu, you have to go!”

Gérard Bökenkamp on FreieWelt.net supports Rösler’s statements and says that he has the “logic on his side” as the German Chancellor and the Minister of Finance – officially – still exclude a bankruptcy of Greece. Excluding a bankruptcy of Greece would mean that there is no way to enforce obligations against Greece.

In the Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung Gerd Höhler writes about the reaction of the Greek in the face of the threat of a national bankruptcy. The actual cause of the misery in Greece is its political system itself, made of corruption and favors. Unless the Greek politicians do not dare to break these structures, the country won’t be able to cope with its problems. However, even in the face of the threat of a national bankruptcy, there is no sign of a reform jerk…

Thomas Kröter writes in the Kölner Stadtanzeiger on 22 July that Angela Merkel wanted to involve the IMF on the “Acropolis Action” in order to involve an institution that is less exposed to political pressure. The IMF was thought to be the “technical backbone” for the Troika that checks the status of Greek reforms. And it is not by hazard that the Federal Ministry of Finance already had prepared plans for a euro zone without Greece. Remains the question: who will be the winner of a Grexit given that Spain may be the next Greece?

Udo Harms (Neue Presse Hannover) comments Rösler’s statements. Given Rösler’s unfavourable situation in the Federal government, bad popularity ratings, mobbing within the FDP, no practical results, his recent statements are at best clumsy, at worst a calculus in order to improve his tattered image in the German public opinion. Harms thinks that after a Grexit, the risk of contagion to Spain and Italy is very present. In this case, the euro could be basically forgotten and also the exporting nation Germany will be weakened…

Egbert Nießler of the Berliner Morgenpost (subscribed version) thinks that a Grexit is not only about Greece, but could also be harmful for the German export oriented economy….


Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Topics

Comments

Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

Pia Hüttl
Schoenmaker pic

European banking union: should the 'outs' join in?

To address coordination failures between national institutions regulating banks, we need supranational policies. Banking union encourages further integration of banks across borders, deepening the single market, and could also benefit countries outside the euro which have a high degree of cross-border banking.

By: Pia Hüttl and Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 4, 2016
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Policy Contribution

Should the ‘outs’ join the European banking union?

Should the ‘outs’ join the European banking union?

This paper analyses the banking linkages between the nine ‘outs’ and 19 ‘ins’ of the banking union. It finds that the out countries could profit from joining banking union, because it would provide a stable arrangement for managing financial stability.

By: Pia Hüttl and Dirk Schoenmaker Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 4, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Guntram B. Wolff

The economic consequences of Schengen

The president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, recently warned that “without Schengen and the free movement of workers, of citizens, the euro makes no sense.” And in fact, it is the single currency and the ability to travel freely without identity documents that most Europeans associate with the EU. So how does it really stand with Schengen and the euro?

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 2, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Jérémie Cohen-Setton

Blaming the Fed for the Great Recession

What’s at stake: Following an article in the New York Times by David Beckworth and Ramesh Ponnuru, the conversation on the blogosphere was dominated this week by the question of whether the Fed actually caused the Great Recession. While not mainstream, this narrative recently received a boost as Ted Cruz, a Republican candidate for the White House, championed it.

By: Jérémie Cohen-Setton Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: February 1, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Opinion

Guntram B. Wolff

The fallout from the European refugee crisis

Of the 1.5 million refugees that reached the European Union last year, more than 1 million ended up in Germany, but the initially welcoming atmosphere has changed drastically.

By: Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 29, 2016
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

External Publication

Analysis of developments in EU capital flows in the global context

Analysis of developments in EU capital flows in the global context

The purpose of our report is to provide a comprehensive overview of capital movements in Europe in a global context.

By: Zsolt Darvas, Pia Hüttl, Silvia Merler and Thomas Walsh Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 28, 2016
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Blueprint

Blueprint

Measuring competitiveness in Europe: resource allocation, granularity and trade

This new Bruegel Blueprint provides a differentiated understanding of growth, productivity and competitiveness and the important role public policy needs to play.

By: Carlo Altomonte and Gábor Békés Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 28, 2016
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Policy Brief

One market, two monies: the European Union and the United Kingdom

One market, two monies: the European Union and the United Kingdom

So far, having more than one currency in the EU has not undermined the single market. However, attempts to deepen integration in the banking, labour and capital markets might require governance integration that involves only euro-area countries. Safeguards are needed to protect the interest of the UK and other euro-outs.

By: André Sapir and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 28, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Silvia Merler

Bad banks and rude awakenings: Italian banks at a crossroads

Italian banks have recently come under market pressure, as investors seemed to have grown worried about the sector. This triggered a speed-up in the discussion between the Italian government and the European Commission about the creation of a “bad-bank”, on which a decision is reportedly due this week.

By: Silvia Merler Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 26, 2016
Read article More on this topic More by this author

Blog Post

Jérémie Cohen-Setton

Oil and stock prices

What’s at stake: The recent positive link between oil and stock prices has been puzzling for most observers. While a decrease in the price of oil was traditionally seen as a net positive for oil importing countries such as the United States, the concurrent declines in the price of oil and the US stock market suggest that the relationship may be different in the current environment.

By: Jérémie Cohen-Setton Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 25, 2016
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

The Bank of England in Europe: Does EU membership constrain non-Euro central banks?

The ECB and its response to crises in the euro area have been in the spotlight recently. But how does EU membership affect the central banks of non-Euro member states? This question is especially pertinent in the UK, whose relationship with the EU is at a vital crossroads.

Speakers: Jon Cunliffe, Matt Holmes, Sheri Markose and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance, Finance & Financial Regulation Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: January 22, 2016
Read article More on this topic

Blog Post

kang
ligthart
Ashoka Mody

The ECB and the Fed: a comparative narrative

Although the Great Recession was viewed as a US problem, the Eurozone was affected by it from the start. This column compares the monetary policy responses to the Crisis by the Fed and the ECB. It argues that the US approach has been much more aggressive and proactive. The ECB failed to provide stimulus when needed, and as a result the Eurozone might slip into a low-inflation trap.

By: Dae Woong Kang, Nick Ligthart and Ashoka Mody Topic: European Macroeconomics & Governance Date: January 21, 2016
Load more posts