Joschka Fischer je moder mož. V zadnjem komentarju je lepo opisal, kako so grške volitve pokopale nemško politiko varčevanja. (Nasploh pa mi je všeč njegova definicija politike varčevanja: “Austerity – the policy of saving your way out of a demand shortfall“. Le zakaj se tega ne da v slovenščini tako lepo povedati?!? Ima kdo dober prevod tega?).
Nemčija v bistvu nima velike izbire: lahko ignorira grško demokratično voljo (in jo pusti izstopiti in bankrotirati), toda s tem tvega razpad evro območja. Vprašanje ni, kot lucidno ugotavlja Fischer, ali bo nemška politika priznala, da je politika varčevanja (upravičeno) mrtva, temveč kdaj.
Even before the leftist Syriza party’s overwhelming victory in Greece’s recent general election, it was obvious that, far from being over, the crisis was threatening to worsen. Austerity – the policy of saving your way out of a demand shortfall – simply does not work. In a shrinking economy, a country’s debt-to-GDP ratio rises rather than falls, and Europe’s recession-ridden crisis countries have now saved themselves into a depression, resulting in mass unemployment, alarming levels of poverty, and scant hope.
The Greek election outcome was foreseeable for more than a year. If negotiations between the “troika” (the European Commission, the ECB, and the International Monetary Fund) and the new Greek government succeed, the result will be a face-saving compromise for both sides; if no agreement is reached, Greece will default.
Though no one can say what a Greek default would mean for the euro, it would certainly entail risks to the currency’s continued existence. Just as surely, the mega-disaster that might result from a eurozone breakup would not spare Germany.
A compromise would de facto result in a loosening of austerity, which entails significant domestic risks for Merkel (though less than a failure of the euro would). But, in view of her immense popularity at home, including within her own party, Merkel is underestimating the options at her disposal. She could do much more, if only she trusted herself.
In the end, she may have no choice. Given the impact of the Greek election outcome on political developments in Spain, Italy, and France, where anti-austerity sentiment is similarly running high, political pressure on the Eurogroup of eurozone finance ministers – from both the right and the left – will increase significantly. It does not take a prophet to predict that the latest chapter of the euro crisis will leave Germany’s austerity policy in tatters – unless Merkel really wants to take the enormous risk of letting the euro fail.
There is no indication that she does. So, regardless of which side – the troika or the new Greek government – moves first in the coming negotiations, Greece’s election has already produced an unambiguous defeat for Merkel and her austerity-based strategy for sustaining the euro. Simultaneous debt reduction and structural reforms, we now know, will overextend any democratically elected government because they overtax its voters. And, without growth, there will be no structural reforms, either, however necessary they may be.
That is Greece’s lesson for Europe. The question now is not whether the German government will accept it, but when. Will it take a similar debacle for Spain’s conservatives in that country’s coming election to force Merkel to come to terms with reality?
Vir: Joschka Fischer, Project Syndicate