Economy Euro

Germany: Merkel saves euro – and her own skin

30 September 2011
Presseurop
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 30 September 2011

It’s a green light from Germany. On 29 September, the German Parliament approved the expansion of the bailout fund for the euro by 523 votes to 85, letting Berlin step forth as guarantor to the tune of 211 billion euros. And the sacrosanct majority of the Chancellor had four votes more than it needed. “The rebellion against the chancellor ran down quietly,” welcomes the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. “The vote was a test to see if the Chancellor could still manage to bring her coalition together behind her.”

“The Chancellor may have the confidence of MPs, but given the crisis still to be resolved, this vote is only a minor rescue,” adds the Süddeutsche Zeitung, reminding its reader that “throwing money at problems is just to repeat past mistakes – that is, giving precedence to the economy over policy [...] “Perhaps one day Angela Merkel will be blamed for having got it wrong,” writes the left-wing daily Berliner Zeitung. “But we cannot blame her for taking the easy way out. Germany has a Chancellor who is entitled to modify or even change her opinion publicly, which extends to an almost cynical about-face in nuclear policy after the disaster in Fukushima. In it all, though, she seems authentic to the point where it becomes nearly painful. To the opposition, she has become a constant provocation… It is highly unlikely that the citizens grasp how lucky they are to have a leader who shoulders the burden of doubt, and drives them to do the same.”