Mit solchen Freunden braucht man keine Feinde mehr

Here’s why Angela Merkel insists on being tough:

39 replies on “Mit solchen Freunden braucht man keine Feinde mehr”

Ab sofort: Deutsch als Amtssprache des irischen Staates …

… bis zur Endniederlage Europas.

Denk ich an Irland in der Nacht,
Dann bin ich um den Schlaf gebracht,
Ich kann nicht mehr die Augen schließen,
Und meine heißen Tränen fließen.

(nach H. Heine)


These are partly the consequnces of having weak and craven politicians all across the Eurozone.

Germany has benefitted hugely from the Euro, both in terms of opening up new markets within Europe and lowering its FX rate and increasing its exports to the rest of the world. Now that the grand experiment has come crashing down, they want other, weaker nations to foot 100% of the bill.

Now, I expect German politicians to gloss over these inconvenient facts and play to the tabloid gallery. But it is disgraceful that our government should allow them to get away with it.

If Lenihan and Cowan were in anyway competent they would have been continually pushing this message, both in negotiations and to the foreign media.

In the words of the great philosophers Palin, Gilliam, Cleese, Idle, Jones and Chapman:

Was hat Deutschland jemals fur uns getan?

Es kann nicht klappen. Deutschland muss bezahlen , sondern wird Deutsche Bank verschwinden wie Preusssen und Schlesien.

Dieser Herr Wehner
ist insofern meiner
als er irgendwo begraben liegt,
vermodert in polnischem Kombinat,
keiner der Gemeindemitglieder
wird seiner gedenken,
aber vor mir steigt er manchmal auf
grau und isoliert
unter geschichtlichen Aspekten.

There is one thing that I don’t understand for 100% in the debate about the bailout/rescue package: the Eurozone consists of 16 members. Why is the debate only about Germany? What about France, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Austria, just to mention a few other Eurozone members with solid finances? Are their citizens happy about their taxpayer money being spent on bailing out other countries that suffer from homemade economic crises? Is it natural that these countries contribute to a bailout or does it maybe make sense for their governments to decide whether they would be better off spending the money for other things?

lots and lots of questions!

@ Bazza

Something has to give. The markets don’t buy the bailout and have shorted Olli Rehn’s there theres. The yield on the 10 year is up to 9.4%.
The EZ can’t live in crisis forever.

Protecting the low cost of bank funding rate without QE may just be a bridge too far.

I do not think it is appropriate to post links to articles from the Bild, or other tabloids, on this website.

@Peter McQuade

By Anglo media standards Bild is stratospheric. Substract the T&B and it still has more readable content than the Financial Times.

@kevin denny

Wow! Thanks for the Google Translator Latin tip. Much appreciated in the ‘Latin Quarter’.


fore sure, Bild is populist, but this article reflects quite well the sentiments of the German public about the rescue package for Ireland.

For more profound articles from the two leading newspapers “Frankfurter Allgemeine” and “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”, see for example:


The bottom line in both is similar to the one in Bild.

You’re right, it doesn’t matter what the voters think. What do the intelligensia say? Opera or ballet?

Germans are very nice people. They are good neighbours. They have a history of interacting very positively with smaller countries around them. They treat minorities very well. They certainly wouldn’t build a load of concentration camps to burn their fellow country men. Oh and they’re very good fun!
Wake up – smell the coffee….default and leave

@Kevin O’Rourke, @Cormac @anyone else with a prof title

If you’re fluent in German, wouldn’t one of you be interested in crafting a well-written op-ed laying out the “Irish taxpayer” view of this “bailout”? (e.g. this is placing private debt (largely loaned reckless by FR/DE banks) onto Irish taxpayers, Making 2 million taxpayer fund almost the equivalent of the AIG Bailout, Kevin’s impoverishment model of labour mobility, huge austerity, etc, etc).

The EU narrative of “reckless Irish that I’m subsidizing” is going unchallenged in virtually all of German and French-language newspapers and intelligensia commentary. I’m convinced there’s still a goodly proportion of _educated_ Germans who are largely internationalistic, altruistic on foreign policy, etc, etc and would see “our” side. Now I’m realistic – this will be 20% of the population tops.

For goodness sake, I heard a German _Green_ today hammering poor hapless Gay Mitchell on our “recklessness”.

“Germans are [drivel deleted].”

“Too often, sharp economic downturns breed economic nationalism, protectionism and a nervous adherence to short-term policymaking.” Michael O’Sullivan “Ireland’s Bubble: The Great Transformation” in *Understanding Ireland’s Economic Crisis: Prospects for Recovery* Stephen Kinsella and Anthony Leddin eds, Blackhall Publishing 2010

“Within five years, both Civil War parties are likely to have been brushed aside by a hard right, anti-Europe, anti-Traveller party that, inconceivable as it now seems, will leave us nostalgic for the, usually, harmless buffoonery of Biffo, Inda, and their chums.” Morgan Kelly “If you thought the bank bailout was bad, wait until the mortgage defaults hit home” in *The Irish Times* 8 November 2010


@ Brian J Goggin
Your point is a non-point. Here is the logic to my point:
The best predictor of future behaviour is past behaviour
Germany’s past behaviour has been characterised by insularity and self-service
Its actions during the current crisis are consistent with this
Therefore its likely that its actions in the future will also be consistent with this.

The logic to your point is what…exactly?? That criticism of Germany equates to being hard-right, anti-Europe and anti-Traveller?? Just doesn’t make any sense

The “logic to my point” is that you appear to be either a nutter or a very nasty person.

I will assume for the moment that you are merely a nutter. All states are self-serving and insular, Ireland more than most; Irish people are known to have engaged in slave-raiding, ritual murder, arson, bombings, maimings and economic idiocy, and until relatively recently this state extended the cover of “political offences” to thugs and murderers. Should I predict that Ireland will continue to do that, or is it possible that it has become more civilised?

There is a long distance between predicting that a fellow-member of the EU (and one to which this state owes a lot, in more ways than one) will be self-serving and predicting that it will start building concentration camps.


Unfortunately you miss the point.
I am not saying that they will build concentration camps – I am saying that the underlying attitudes that lead to their behaviour over the past centuries remain intact.
We have our faults too – accepted but in this instance we need to focus on the usefulness of continuing an alliance with this partner.

And unfortunately you are right that we have underlying national tendencies that help predict our behaviour – a lack of openness and accountability being the moSt prominent.

I’m disappointed that you would stoop to insults so easily. My point is about German national behaviour not the German people. It is about how we deal with that behaviour and the attitudes that underlie it.

No need for insults really.

Well done.

re Bild article.
We could have done with a proper translation.

Of course Germans are concerned about bailing out other countries. They must be mesmerised by the lack of ability of their leaders to manage this EU crisis and by the ineptitude of the ECB in proposing and implementing concrete long term solutions other than adherence to orthodoxy.

At the end of the day Germany’s interest is in good EU markets for its goods. I don’t buy the idea that just because it’s exports to China are good (almost at EU level) that Germany will suddenly believe that the EU is no longer relevant.
However the level of frustraton in Germany at the outrageous behaviour of Ireland and Greece in particular needs to be acknowledged.

I profoundly disagree with the German led bailout terms for Ireland. And my initial reaction was to say to hell with Europe. However I realise that the terms might have been different if the Irish had admitted to the world that it has been governed by a incompetent, arrogant and corrupt clique worse than anything produced by Tammany Hall.
If the shoe had been on the other foot, how would the pre-2007 Irish State have responded to a similar situation? As I recall Ireland had a habit if cutting its foreign aid budget whenever savings were required.

We need to careful of which bridges we burn. Bridges will have to be rebuilt, whether it be the bridge is over the Boyne or at Strasbourg.

“My point is about German national behaviour not the German people.”

I am surprised and shocked at your remarks.

Of course, the “friends” bailing out Ireland now, have their agenda. In fact, the political class in continental Europe is not any less corrupted than the Irish government. They wouldn’t have been any less stupid in their policies in case the banking sector in their countries performed equally catastrophic than in Ireland.

In Austria, two bank CEO’s are now facing a criminal trial for loosing billions of Euros in shady investments. I wonder if Irish bank CEO’s will ever been held responsible for what they did to the economy.

The worst case scenario now would be a bailout without tough impositions from the IMF on the Irish political system. I think the time of being diplomatic and sophisticated in consulting government in Ireland is over. The damage made by this government is too high to engage in being a benevolent intellectual. There needs to be some kind of a “Big Bang” Reform NOW.

Alles Gute and Viel Glueck fuer Irland!

@ Hugh
Realize I may have overstepped the mark here. Apologies for that. I’m trying to make a point but not doing it very well at all.

No country has benefitted more from “forgiveness” than Germany. That’s why it’s a bit galling to hear their punitive and unforgiving attitude to Ireland.
There was the interview with Gay Mitchell yesterday and the move on our Corporate tax rate inthe European parliament.
Then we have to remember that Angela’s comments triggered all of this.

In the US or Canada the stronger states support the weak when they’re in trouble. In Europe old nationalistic tendencies come to he fore in times of crisis and countries like Ireland get pumelled.

The Euro is badly designed. The only way out of this is debt forgiveness from Germany. I don’t see any signs of that at all. All I see is a weak country being bullied and punished. I would love to be proven wrong but I don’t think I will.

I accept that my previous posts are offensive and would like to tale them back (or deleted).

We should be very careful, however. This crisis is going to get a lot worse. It’s not my “nationalism” (and it isn’t really) people need to worry about! We will be kicked out of the Euro. We need to
make sure we’re not left destitute before that.

You’ve withdrawn the bit that I found objectionable; I now reciprocate. Let us have peace.

A far more important constraint than “das Bild” is the decision of teh German Supreme Court regarding the Lisbon Treaty. Below is a link to the English language version of the judgement. Note that reference to Germany’s Basic Law are references to Germany’s constitution.

Key points from the lengthy judgement :

“The Basic Law does not grant the bodies acting on behalf of Germany powers to abandon the right to self-determination of the German people in the form of Germany’s sovereignty under international law by joining a federal state.”

“The primacy of Union and Community law over national law is still not explicitly regulated …”

“The Basic Law thus not only assumes sovereign statehood but guarantees it.”

“A transfer of the right of the Bundestag to adopt the budget and control its execution by the government which would violate the principle of democracy and the right to elect the German Bundestag in its essential content would take place if the determination of the character and the amount of the levies affecting the citizen were supranationalised to a considerable extent.”

“A structural democratic deficit that would be unacceptable pursuant to Article 23 in conjunction with Article 79.3 of the Basic Law would exist if the extent of competences, the political freedom of action and the degree of independent formation of opinion on the part of the institutions of the Union reached a level corresponding to the federal level in a federal state, i.e. a level analogous to that of a state, because for instance the legislative competences, which are essential for democratic self-determination, were exercised mainly on the level of the Union.”

“The European Parliament is not a body of representation of a sovereign European people. … The European Parliaments factually remains, due to the Member State’s contingents Of seats, a representation of the peoples of the Member States.”

Bottom Line I
Only the German people has the power to put Germany into a Federal EU (or what wouod amount to a Federal EU).

Bottom Line II
The notion that, by creating a fiscal union, we might get out of the current economic crisis must therefore overcome the reluctance of either the German people or the German Supreme Court. In my opinion, neither is likely in the short-term.


Debt forgiveness from Germany? That should be easy… especially because the German government doesn’t own Irish bonds. Or did I miss out on something there?

I am generally wondering what those in the forum slagging Germany for giving Ireland the cold shoulder actually expect from Germany.
Should the country (as opposed to all the 16 Eurozone members) bail out Ireland, Greece, Portugal, Spain and maybe even Italy? At no cost for these countries? And if it refuses to do so, is this an expression of a lack of solidarity?

Not that I am advocating the high interest rate the ECB charges on the loan to Ireland here, but I am puzzled by the notion of solidarity expressed by many discussants in this forum.

Germany, the last source of OPM, Other People’s Money. Having spent all their own money, and all the OPM that anyone will lend them, and all the money in the pockets and balance sheets of their people, states scurry desperately to loot the last source, German pocketbooks and credit. What’s the end game?

@Eureka: “The only way out of this is debt forgiveness from Germany.”
Please, Eureka, could you elaborate what you mean exactly by “debt forgiveness” and how this should be achieved in the present situation?

@Cormac Lucey:
Bottom Line II – creating a fiscal union
Well observed about the German Constitutional Court opposing it but before comes to asking the court, the creation of a fiscal union would have to be negotiated between the Eurozone countries by unanimity. And how unlikely is that?
It’s a damned situation we’re in right now: unravelling the euro is not a viable political option (and would be financial suicide) but saving it by creating a fiscal Eurozone union is not an option either.

If I was a German (or perhaps Dutch) taxpayer, what should I read from the contributions on this thread?

I’d still see a public service that gets paid more than any equivalent German. I’d see Social welfare recipients often receiving more than German workers do after they pay their taxes. Would I be wrong in seeing a country asking to have their cake and to eat mine too.

Now it’s possible that the unconditional bank guarantee was a stupid move, but it was our govt did it, not the German one. If it turns out that it was forced on Ireland then that’s a different thing, but so far the guarantee seems to have been Ireland’s govt playing a poker hand all-in and having two twos against the banks with a full house and Ireland’s govt lost.

People then loaned Ireland and its banks money against a sovereign guarantee….which isn’t something to walk away from lightly, particularly not if the best excuse is that “the bad man shouldn’t have loaned me the money”.

If it turns out Ireland CAN’T pay, like really can’t, then that’s a different matter. If it’s merely that Ireland doesn’t feel like paying then it’s Ireland waging war on the German taxpayer and not the other way around.

Der Irish Taxos : Irland hilft sich selbst

Im Dezember 2008 schrieb ich, ausgehend von einem Beitrag von Heiner Flassbeck in de FT :
„In der derzeitigen Finanzmarktkrise ist es deutlich geworden, dass das Vertrauen in die Banken nicht einfach diesen immanent ist, sondern letztlich vom Staat als lender of the last ressort getragen wird. Es mutet daher mehr als eigenartig an, dass der Staat verzinsliche Kredite von eben diesen Banken aufnimmt, denen er selbst erst wieder „Kredit“ – Vertrauen – zugeführt hat. (Nicht zuletzt in dem Fall, dass er ihre Eigenkapitalbasis durch Zuführung des Geldes stärkt, das er eben über einen Bankkredit bereitgestellt hat.)
Unsere Vorstellung ist deshalb die, dass ja der Staat aus sich selbst heraus schon jenen Kredit hat, der ein Zahlungsmittel erst zu diesem macht. In diesem Sinn ist ein Vorschlag zur Einführung von Steuergutschriften – Taxos – bereits ausgearbeitet. Wir müssen damit die Kirche nicht um das Kreuz tragen.“

Zwei Jahre später ist die Sachlage etwas anders geworden, aber nicht einfacher. Staaten wie Irland, Portugal, und wer weiß nicht noch welche, haben jenen Kredit verloren, der Zahlungsmittel erst zu diese macht. Irland hat Schwierigkeiten, seine Staatsanleihen unterzubringen, oder aber nur unter einem hohen Risikoaufschlag auf die Verzinsung. Die EU und insbesondere Staaten wie Deutschland müssen hier mit einem Schutzschirm an Kreditwürdigkeit einschreiten, um die Zahlungsunfähigkeit des irischen Staates zu vermeiden. Mit diesem Schutzschirm wurde nun aber die Mentalität gefördert, dass es schon irgendwie irgendeine Hilfe von außen geben wird, die eigene schmerzliche Maßnahmen vermeiden hilft.

Hier wird nun der Vorschlag zur Diskussion gestellt, warum der irische Staat seine Staatsanleihen auf den internationalen Finanzmärkten platziert, anstatt diese Staatsanleihen glei nunch zu Zahlungsmittel zu machen. Du dem die Warnung der nicht unwahrscheinlichen Zahlungsunfähigkeit des Staates mit all seinen Auswirkungen auf die nicht zuletzt auf die Gelvermögen gegenüber stellt.

Es soll hier also vom TAXOS-Vorschlag ( ausgehend, angeregt werden, die Staatsanleihen im eigenen Land zu platzieren, und zwar nicht auf dem Finanzmarkt, sondern als Zahlungsmittel mit entsprechender Teilbarkeit auf dem Güter- und Arbeitsmarkt . Um die Akzeptanz und Verwendung der so geschaffenen Irish Taxos als Zahlungsmittel bei alltäglichen Zahlungen im Konsumgüterbereich zu unterstützen, müsste der Staat einen Schritt vorausgehen, indem er den IT als Zahlungsmittel für Steuern und Abgaben nimmt.

Aber auch die Forderungen gegen bereits bestehende Staatsanleihen werden dann in Irish Taxos im Verhältnis 1:1 Euro zu IT nominiert, ebenso wie alle anderen Forderungen gegen die Banken (Bank-Einlagen). Im Bereich der Ausgaben für den täglichen notwendigen Konsum vorzüglich von nicht-importierten Waren ist dann zu erwarten, dass auch hier in etwa das Verhältnis 1:1 erhalten bleibt, wenn der IT nach einer Anlaufzeit breite Verwendung findet. Die „kleinen Sparer“ wären dann in ihrem Konsum insbes. einheimischer Waren nicht oder kaum betroffen, wenn sie ihren Einkauf in IT begleichen, und hier die Zahlungen verbreitet in IT abgewickelt werden. Und zudem die kleinen Sparer ja immer nur in kleinen Beträgen auf ihre Ersparnisse zurückgreifen.
Die großen Halter von Staatsanleihen, die diese nun aber nicht in IT halten wollen, werden sich einen Markt schaffen (müssen), auf dem sie den IT gegen Euro tauschen können. Dabei wird sich ein Wechselkurs zwischen Euro und IT größer als 1 einstellen. Die großen Halter von irischen Staatsanleihen werden also einen Abstrich von ihren Euro-Einlagen machen müssen. Damit müsste dann auch eine Milderung der Verschuldung des irischen Staates möglich sein.

Ernst Dorfner

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