Der Elefant im Porzellanladen or the bull in the china shop, both phrases describe a person that is not very sensitive when it comes to their environment and surroundings. This however, is the impression the German chancellor Angela Merkel is giving during these troubled times.
While most political observers would advice Merkel to tread carefully when it comes to the recent problems Greece are facing, the German chancellor appears to be resistant to constructive and sensitive counsel. Instead she insists on taking the route she once has chosen as the path to glory and rescue. This path includes financial prudence and rigour but unmistakably will lead weak economics such as the Greek one into even deeper trouble. The austerity programs that are already in place have simply made the situation worse. Moreover, there is a dangerous nationalist undertone to be heard from Greece, where the word Merkel is now considered a swear word. This was further aggrieved last week when Merkel suggested to install an independent supervisor in Greece to control the country’s performance
Merkel’s Mantra: Sparen, Sparen, Sparen
As the criticism from the members of the EU, such as Britain and the Czech Republic increases, so does the opposition to her plans from within Germany point out the weaknesses of her only way of getting out of this crisis: sparen, sparen, sparen (saving, saving, saving or even worse: cuts, cuts, cuts!) Many of those voices certainly are no experts when it comes to economics, nor is the writer of this text, yet the agenda Merkel pursues is driven mainly by economic targets, where auditors assess the performance of Greece and even Germany simply by economics parameters.
The new Iron Lady
Britain has had Margaret Thatcher for almost twelve years in power as the frist Prime Minister in the history. Through her hard politics, nationally (one thinks of the miners) as well as internationally (Falklands) she earned the nickname Iron Lady, which certainly described her perfectly. Angela Merkel, without intending to copy Mrs. Thatcher appears to become just that, a new Iron Lady, in order to save the Euro and master the current crisis, or crises, as the banking crisis of autumn 2008 rapidly turned into a Euro crisis accompanied by a finance crisis and finally a number of political crises.
Certainly dealing with a profoundly critical situation where the single currency has come under serious pressure is not an easy one and solutions are not easy to find nor to develop. However, simply applying one political master plan in order to fix problems into which no one in Germany has a view, seems plainly stupid.