For fifty years Germany has invariably stumped up the money required to keep Europe’s Project on track, responding to unreasonable demands with grace and generosity.
It bankrolled French farmers through the Common Agricultural Policy, that disguised tithe for war reparations. It then bankrolled Spanish farmers as well.
It funded each new wave of EU expansion, though reeling itself from the €60bn annual cost of its own reunification. It gave up the cherished D-Mark, the anchor of German economic stability.
We are so used to German self-abnegation for the sake of Europe that we can hardly imagine any other state of affairs. But the escalating protest against EMU bail-outs by Germany’s key insistutions go beyond the banalities of money. The fight is over German democracy itself.
Those who talk of a Fourth Reich or believe that EMU is a "German racket to take over the whole of Europe" – as Nicholas Ridley famously put it -- have the matter backwards.
Germans allowed their country to be tied down with "silken chords". They are the most reliable defenders of freedom and parliamentary prerogative in Europe, precisely because they know their history. more