Thursday, July 16, 2015

After Greek deal, Germany is once again seen as Europe’s villain

image from article, with caption: Broken halo. Jens Wolf

The German chancellor, Angela Merkel, and her team of negotiators seem to have pulled it off once again. Or so it seems. A deal on Greece has been done at a time when many thought it would no longer be possible. ... 
But Germany is now perceived to have won by humiliating its opponent. There have been calls to boycott the country’s goods, and Nobel prize-winning economist Paul Krugman agreed with the take of #ThisIsACoup. Talk of a “Fourth Reich” is back as well in full force. ...
Of course, the crisis and negotiations are far more complex to be attributed to Merkel and the German government alone. But it is worth asking what her leadership has achieved – and what it hasn’t. German finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, proposed, at the 11th hour on Saturday, the possibility of Greece temporarily leaving the euro. Whether or not this was a serious proposal or merely a negotiating tactic, it was a disastrous move in terms of public diplomacy.
It has exposed Schäuble, and thus Germany, as chief scapegoat in the European public realm. ...
Merkel’s leadership style and the fallout of the crisis have made a serious problem even worse. The Greek crisis is a textbook example of how not to handle public diplomacy. Germany has emerged as the scapegoat, and the European Union (not just the eurozone) has been left exposed to national sentiment and populist politicking. And amid all this, the Greek people are still hurting.

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