September 5, 2013
The electoral debate in Germany is overly developed around the Greek issue and the fate of Greece inside or outside Eurozone, the consolidation program, the possible haircut or the additional aid program and a new Memorandum of Agreement with the troika. I am really surprised by the fact that German candidates are so into the Greek case, but I am also more stunned by the fact that they do not handle this issue from a proper perspective: That of debating over a viable solution to the Greek budget drama and, broadly, to the outcome of austerity politics.
I cannot discern whether Greece is in imminent danger or it is just Greece that “sells” more. Italy and Spain are much bigger economies, with similar structural and debt problems, but it is Greece in the centre of the cyclone of the German electoral debate. To third eye, it might seem that both the major candidates from CDU and SPD are rushing for condemning Greece for all the mismanagements and mistakes of the austerity program, forgiving themselves for the complete failure of the program. Not only in Greece, but also in Spain, Italy, and Portugal.
Both candidates completely ignore the fact that the recipe for the recovery of the Greek economy has stemmed from their economic propositions, along with the propositions of the IMF and the European Central Bank. Both candidates ignore the fact that as long as the program was in the wrong direction since the beginning and that signs of development never saw the light, they consistently insisting on imposing the same catastrophic and fractious policy both inside Greece and Eurozone. Further, both candidates ignore the fact that the solution to the problem is not to devastate the Greek society, dismantle any remnants of the welfare state or suffocate medium and small size businesses, but to give a boost for more investments, growth and employment. Not to blindly cut health and social benefits, not to increase political extremism, not to nourish criminality and outrage in the Greek society.
Someone would expect from these elections and from these candidates to deal more profoundly and insightfully with how to effectively address economic downturn, massive unemployment, social rupture and political incapacity in the European Union. To address the issue of political union and the prospects for more united and coherent Union. To address the problem of imbalance between the European North and South in terms of economic development. To address the current image and the extreme lowering of expectations from the outside world concerning the European Union and its leverage worldwide. To finally address some of the most pending and unresolved problems that the European Union is faced with towards the European Elections of 2014.
Instead, both candidates from CDU and SPD are investing in spiting mud against Greece and its people. Against the so-called “lazy” Greek people that pass their times in the beach under the sun. Against the “bad guys” of the South and the “coherent and hyper-disciplined and effective” people of the North.
To sum up, the current electoral debate in Germany, apart from being the cheapest in ideas and visions for Europe, it is also a hard depiction of how the major leaders understand the role of their country: a self-reserved, narrow-minded, and selfish political and economic power that does not care about Europe nor about the common prosperity of the Union.Dimitris Rapidis