Europe Revolts: “What Is Happening Now Is A Defeat For Germany”

 

Angela Merkel reacts before a party board meeting in BerlinChancellor Merkel

 

In Spain, only Vladmir Putin is more disapproved of than Angela Merkel. Such is the level of polarization that Germany’s chancellor has created in Europe that, as WSJ reports, even domestically she is being deriled for saddling Greeks with “soup kicthens upon soup kitchens.” As Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research, a leading Berlin think tank notes, “Germany has, at the end of the day, helped determine most of the European decisions of the last five years,” and therefore, “what is happening now is a defeat for Germany, especially, far more than for any other country.”

“They want to humiliate Greece to send a warning to Spain, Portugal and Italy,” Hilario Montero, a pensioner at a pro-Greece demonstration in Madrid recently, said of Berlin and Brussels. “The message is you are not allowed to cross the lines they set.”

As The Wall Street Journal reports,

 Ms. Merkel’s power after a decade in office has become seemingly untouchable, both within Germany and across Europe. But with the “no” vote in Sunday’s Greek referendum on bailout terms posing the biggest challenge yet to decades of European integration, risks to the European project resulting from Germany’s rise as the Continent’s most powerful country are becoming clear.

On Friday, Spanish antiausterity leader Pablo Iglesias urged his countrymen: “We don’t want to be a German colony.” On Sunday, after Greece’s result became clear, Italian populist Beppe Grillo said, “Now Merkel and bankers will have food for thought.” On Monday, Ms. Merkel flew to Paris for crisis talks amid signs the French government was resisting Berlin’s hard line on Greece.

 

“What is happening now is a defeat for Germany, especially, far more than for any other country,” said Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research, a leading Berlin think tank. “Germany has, at the end of the day, helped determine most of the European decisions of the last five years.”

 

In Greece last week, it was the stern face of 72-year-old German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble that appeared on some of the posters urging voters to reject Europe’s bailout offer. “He’s been sucking your blood for five years—now tell him NO,” the posters said.

 

“They want to humiliate Greece to send a warning to Spain, Portugal and Italy,” Hilario Montero, a pensioner at a pro-Greece demonstration in Madrid recently, said of Berlin and Brussels. “The message is you are not allowed to cross the lines they set.”

 

And she is left stuck between a rock and hard place…

 “Germany is in this hegemonic role in Europe because we have no relevant right-wing populist parties,” Mr. Münkler said.

That is why Europe’s current showdown with Greece is critical for the future of Germany’s place in Europe, analysts say.

If Ms. Merkel approves a new lifeline for Athens after weeks of vitriolic debate, she is likely to face a furor from Germany’s right and stoke the country’s incipient euroskeptic movement.

If Greece careens out of the euro, Ms. Merkel will face blame for an episode that has further polarized Europe at a time when controversies over the U.K.’s EU membership and how to treat migrants and refugees are adding to the tensions wrought by the Ukraine crisis.

Claudia Major, a security specialist at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said: “If Greece were to leave the eurozone, this may someday be seen as the beginning of the end of the project of European integration—when the Germans were not in the position, as the leading power in shaping Europe, to be able to resolve things with the Greeks.”

As they conclude…

With every crisis in which Ms. Merkel acts as the Continent’s go-to problem solver, the message to many other Europeans is that for all the lip service about the common “European project,” it is the Germans and faceless bureaucrats in Brussels who run the show.

The pushback against German power in Europe is likely to grow if the eurozone crisis worsens or if Berlin’s policies grow more assertive.

Germany’s Merkel Now Comes Out as Basically a U.S. Proxy

 

In-depth Report:

 

Fracking-CETA-TTIP

Fracking-CETA-TTIP

On Wednesday, April 1st, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet approved a measure to bring fracking (the patents for which are owned mainly by “large American companies, including Halliburton, Baker Hughes and Schlumberger”) into Germany. This is a prelude not only to U.S. President Obama’s secret Trans-Atlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP) pact with Europe to subordinate national laws and regulations to trans-national mega-corporate panels that will be dominated by U.S. firms and that will override the participating nations’ environmental and labor regulations and consumer protections (and harm European economies generally), but it is also a major step toward removing Europe from Russia’s energy-market, and bringing U.S. and European oil companies to dominate there instead.

German Economic News headlined on April 1st, “Precursor to TTIP: Federal Government brings Fracking to Germany,” and reported that:

The controversial shale gas extraction (fracking) process is coming to Germany: In order not to provoke excessively large protests at home, the federal government highlighted that fracking is initially allowed only for testing purposes. But in fact, the draft law of the Federal Environment and the Federal Ministry of Economics, approved today by the the Cabinet, also allows subsequent large-scale extraction of shale gas….

The American interest in a continuing conflict simmering in Ukraine also causes Europeans to fear that Russian gas could stop and thus drive Europe to give up our still considerable resistance against fracking. Some US politicians have personal interests, such as the US Vice President Biden, whose son works for a Ukrainian fracking company.

Last year [U.S. agent, friend of Angela Merkel, and EU Council President, Donald] Tusk wrote in a commentary in the Financial Times that ‘excessive dependence on Russian energy’ is an EU weakness. Currently, the EU countries derive 44 percent of our natural gas from Russia and 33 percent from Norway. … Objectively, there is no reason to be afraid of the Russians: Even Angela Merkel acknowledged a few months ago that Russians have always accurately fulfilled their gas contracts and therefore are a reliable partner.

Halliburton and Baker-Hughes have merged, and are the two major owners of fracking patents. Schlumberger is third. ExxonMobil is a distant fourth. So, this could produce a huge boost to those stocks.

The fact that the only independent economic analysis of the impact of the TTIP finds that, without a doubt, it will harm European economies, and especially will increase the inequality of wealth in both the U.S. and EUsuggests that the U.S. aristocracy’s control over European aristocracies must be rather strong in order for the TTIP to be moving forward toward approval by, apparently, people such as Merkel and Tusk. Merkel has already shown that she is the EU’s enforcer of austerity (“the Washington Consensus”) upon the residents in Greece and Spain in order to guarantee payments to the bondholders of those countries; but in the present instance, the aristocrats whom she is serving are specifically, if not only, American ones. And, in particular, the oil companies that will be primary beneficiaries of her pro-fracking maneuver are mainly American ones. She comes from the former East Germany, and, apparently, hates Russia just as the CIA-connected Barack Obama does.

After the Cabinet meeting, a joint press conference was held with Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, in which he said and she seconded, that Ukraine was ready to join the EU and was making the required progress toward rooting out corruption, and toward other matters. He said that the only barriers against that are Russian aggression, and a shortage of money from Germany and from other Western nations. The two leaders stated that the front-line against the threat from Russia is Ukraine, and Merkel promised to do what is needed in order to help.

As a Russian news report put it:

“Reassuring each other in their heartfelt friendship, mutual hatred of Russia, and the bright prospects of Ukraine being on the way into Europe, the heads of Government remembered their shared history. Yatseniuk again accused Russia of trying to ‘privatize the history of Ukraine’, referring to the debate on the participation of Ukrainians in the victory over Nazi Germany. The Prime Minister of Ukraine proposed to celebrate 8 May as a day of reconciliation and European solidarity.”

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

Greece demands Nazi war reparations and German assets seizures as creditor squeeze continues

BankofGreece_3227862b

The Telegraph – March 11, 2015

Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras revives claims for compensation in return for the crimes carried out by the Third Reich

Greece’s prime minister has demanded Germany pay back more than €160bn (£112bn) in Second World War reparations as his country is squeezed by creditors to overhaul its economy in return for vital bail-out funds.

In an emotive address to his parliament, Alexis Tsipras said his government had a “duty to history, to the people who fought and to the victims who gave their lives to defeat Nazism.”

The Leftist government maintains it is owed more than €162bn – nearly half the value of its total public debt – for the destruction wrought during the Nazi occupation of Greece.

“The government will work in order to honour fully its obligations. But, at the same time, it will work so that all of the unfulfilled obligations to Greece and the Greek people are met,” said Mr Tsipras on Tuesday at a parliamentary debate on the creation of a reparations committee.

Syriza’s leader added the atrocities of the Nazi occupation remained “fresh in the memory” of Greek people and “must be preserved in the younger generations.”

Greece’s demand for reparations centers on a war loan of 476m Reichsmarks the Greek central bank was forced to make to the Nazis. Athens is also calling for wider compensation for the destruction and suffering caused by the occupation.

 

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Prime Minister Tsipras addressed his parliament at a debate on establishing a Greek war reparations committee

The country’s justice minister went further, threatening the seizure of German assets in order to compensate the relatives of Nazi war crimes.

Nikos Paraskevopoulos told Greek television he was willing to back a supreme court ruling which would lead to the foreclosure of German assets in Greece.

A spokesman for the German Finance Ministry dismissed the threats, saying there would be no negotiation over the war-time debts.

“We won’t be conducting any talks or negotiations with the Greek side,” said Germany’s Martin Jaeger when asked about the latest Greek demands.

“Making these emotional and backward-looking allegations doesn’t help in the context of the work we need to tackle together with the Greeks.”

The Third Reich famously subdued Greek resistance in a matter of weeks in 1941, after the country had held out for months against Mussolini’s Italian army.

The occupation that followed saw more than 40,000 civilians starved to death in Athens.

Germany maintains it has paid up all of its reparations to Greece in a post-war accord agreed in 1960.

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The rhetoric comes as Athens prepares to open its books to its lenders in a bid to release €7.2bn in bail-out funds the country desperately needs to stay afloat.

Inspection teams from the “Brussels Mafia”, the European Central Bank, International Monetary Fund and European Commission, who have now been officially renamed as the “Brussels Group”, are due to cast their eyes over the country’s finances and begin technical work over the terms of the bail-out extension in the coming days.

Athens is scrambling to pay €1.3bn in loans to the IMF before the end of the month.