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Richard North, 20/11/2012  


Spiegel 237-ghr.jpg

Although the EU budget dominates the British coverage on "Europe", you will be hard put to find much on the issue in the German press. What you will find though is considerable coverage of Greece, although an element of realism is creeping into the reporting.

Thus says Spiegel, it will decision time for Greece this week, only for the magazine then to concede that it will probably be "just a week of muddling through again".

With that, there is the dawning of the realisation that Germany is going to have to cough up to resolve the crisis. At some point, even the best tricks are not going to help any more. The vague talk of the "other solutions" and the postponement of painful decisions will cease to have any effect.

Eventually the Greek rescuers will have to concede in Berlin, Brussels and Paris, that the Hellas project will cost a lot of money. Billions of euros are going to have to be spent and the money will be lost for Germany and other creditor countries. For Germany, the money will have to be recovered by other means, by raising taxes or cutting spending.

The problem is, says Spiegel that this "moment of insight and clarity" is still far away. For now, it looks as if the euro countries are going to continue as before. That means muddling through - delaying the truth as long as possible.

And Angela Merkel "is the master of this tactic". She wants to push back the required payment date for Greece at least ten months, until after autumn 2013, when she is re-elected.

So, when eurozone finance ministers meet today to release the next tranche of the second rescue package for Greece, they will probably again decide to release only just enough to see the Helenic Republic through the next months, thus avoiding the final solution where everybody gets a haircut.

Comment, then, can hardly be more robust. "This is a cowardly and dishonest policy", the magazine decides. "It will increase the anger of many citizens". There is no way past the fact that Germany and other creditor countries will have to pay for Greece.

It thus concludes, "the important thing is that the political leaders finally find the courage to tell their citizens the truth". Now that really would be something.

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