Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Merkel bears no gifts for Greece

(Financial Times) -- More than any other European leader, Angela Merkel is unloved in Athens: she is seen as the main enforcer of drastic austerity measures imposed by the EU on Greece to resolve its debt crisis. The German chancellor has been caricatured in extreme left and rightwing publications as a jack-booted Nazi. The fact that Germany has pledged billions in taxpayers' money in loans and financial guarantees to ease the Greek debt burden is largely ignored. So what has inspired Ms Merkel, notoriously risk averse, to run the gauntlet of potentially violent demonstrations on an official visit to Athens on Tuesday? The truth is that it has everything to do with symbolism, rather than substance -- and it has as much to do with German politics as with the plight of the government in Athens. Read More