Once upon a time, not ten years ago actually, even a slight whisper about a possible breakup of the Eurozone was regarded as a taboo subject, that kind of thing only fools can think about. Mario Draghi, the EU Central Bank president (ex Goldman Sachs) when asked if there’s a contingent plan in place in case one country wishes to leave the Euro, responded bluntly: there’s no plan B.
Long story short, just to demonstrate how rock solid the European Union construct is, a break up was considered an unthinkable possibility,hence there was no plan B for such an eventuality.
Well, enter Brexit and today’s declaration from Germany’s vice chancellor Sigmar Gabriel for Der Spiegel. Sigmar Gabriel’s Social Democratic party is a junior partner so to speak for Angela Merkel’s CDU in her ruling coalition.
The thing is that Germany’s obsession with austerity in the Euro zone has alienated many countries, the likes of Italy, Portugal and Spain (PIGS rings a bell?), with the Old Continent being now more divided than ever before, with the Brexit already a thing of the past, hence a break up of the European Union in its current form is no longer inconceivable.
“I once asked the chancellor, what would be more costly for Germany: for France to be allowed to have half a percentage point more deficit, or for Marine Le Pen to become president?”
was quoted as saying Sigmar Gabriel by Der Spiegel magazine with regard to France’s National Front leader.
“Until today, she still owes me an answer,”
added the vice chancellor, whose party (SPD) policy emphasizes a greater focus on investment whilst Merkel’s CDU is more or less obsessed with fiscal discipline as the basis for economic prosperity.
SPD will probably choose Sigmar Gabriel, who is currently the economy minister, to run against Angela Merkel for chancellor in Germany’s federal election in September, according to party sources.
Gabriel was asked if he really believes he can win more votes than Merkel by promising to transfer more of Germany’s tax payer’s money to other EU countries and he replied:
“I know that this discussion is extremely unpopular.
But I also know about the state of the EU. It is no longer unthinkable that it breaks apart.
Should that happen, our children and grandchildren would curse us. Because Germany is the biggest beneficiary of the European community – economically and politically.”
One may wonder why other EU members, like Greece for example, a country which went through seven hellish years of austerity just to remain in the Eurozone, are insisting to stay inside a community in which Germany is the biggest beneficiary and also it’s pulling all the strings.