Deutschland und die europäische Krise

Für die New York Review of Books No. 59 schrieb George Soros einen kenntnisreichen Artikel über die Ursachen der wirtschaftlichen Krise in Europa: The Tragedy of the European Union and How to Resolve It. Er beleuchtet darin vor allem auch die fragwürdige Rolle Deutschlands und zeigt Auswege aus der Krise auf. Eine lesenswerte Lektüre für alle, die an der Zukunft Europas interessiert sind!

I have been a fervent supporter of the European Union as the embodiment of an open society—a voluntary association of equal states that surrendered part of their sovereignty for the common good. The euro crisis is now turning the European Union into something fundamentally different. The member countries are divided into two classes—creditors and debtors—with the creditors in charge, Germany foremost among them. Under current policies debtor countries pay substantial risk premiums for financing their government debt, and this is reflected in the cost of financing in general. This has pushed the debtor countries into depression and put them at a substantial competitive disadvantage that threatens to become permanent.


The German public finds it extremely difficult to understand that Germany is foisting the wrong policy on Europe. The German economy is not in crisis. Indeed, until now Germany has actually benefited from the euro crisis, which has kept down the exchange rate and helped exports. More recently, Germany enjoyed extremely low interest rates, and capital flight from the debtor countries has flooded Germany with capital, at the same time as the “periphery” has had to pay hefty risk premiums for access to funds.

This is not the result of some evil plot but an unintended consequence of an unplanned course of events. German politicians, however, have started to figure out the advantages it has conferred on Germany and this has begun to influence their policy decisions. Germany has been thrust into a position where its attitude determines European policy. So the primary responsibility for a policy of austerity pushing Europe into depression lies with Germany. As time passes, there are increasing grounds for blaming Germany for the policies it is imposing on Europe, while the German public is feeling unjustly blamed. This is truly a tragedy of historic significance. As in ancient Greek tragedies, misconceptions and the sheer lack of understanding have unintended but fateful consequences.

If Germany had been willing at the outset of the Greek crisis to extend the credit that was offered at a later stage, Greece could have been rescued. But Europe did only the minimum necessary to avoid a collapse of the financial system and that was not enough to turn the situation around. The same happened when the crisis spread to the other countries. At every stage the crisis could have been arrested and reversed if Germany had been able to look ahead of the curve and been willing to do more than the minimum.

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