Saturday, May 28, 2011

Who is the payer of Europe?

Who is the major payer of Europe in crisis? Certainly not the German taxpayer. But the misleading message is repeated over and over again, many media and politicians, German. The idea that "the Germans are the most pagan" is firmly anchored even in the European public. In Germany the complaint resurfaces in every discussion of bailout funds to countries in distress.

In Europe is a prime political issue, because it erodes the axis of the European Union and thins the environment. In no European country the theme of the national contribution is as important as in Germany. Its basis is that, as the eurozone's largest economy and its largest population, Germany is the one that brings in money fund totals as stabilization of the euro.

In real terms, which are what count, not so. The share of GDP devoted to thoroughly Germany is at the tenth European. In per capita contribution Germans are in sixth place on seventeen countries, and even the Spanish (and the Maltese, Portuguese, Slovenian and Italian) pay a bit more than them.

But both the government and the media, actively maintain the idea that "we are paying in Europe", which in turn feeds the complaint. The German attitude on issues of rescue not be understood without untangle this mess populist. In absolute numbers it is true that Germany is the highest paying.

It is a question of size of economy and population. Germany accounts for 30% of the eurozone economy, with 80 million inhabitants, is the most populous country. So your cash deposit to the mechanism of stability of the euro (21,700 million) and guarantees (168,300 million) are the greatest.

According to its population the largest payer of the eurozone is Luxembourg, a paíos not complain, with 398 euros per inhabitant. Germany is far, with 265 euros per capita, in sixth place on seventeen. According to the percentage of GDP devoted to the common effort, even further back: Germany goes to the tenth position, with Malta as a leader and behind Portugal, Estonia, Slovenia, Italy and Spain.

Both the population criterion as the performance of its economy, are closer to reality than the absolute figures. The difference is that none of those countries mentioned hear a complaint against payment or against a European Union as a "union of transfers" (Transferunion) central term of the German debate on Europe that the commissioner Joaquin Almunia ridiculed during his last visit to Berlin.

France, which has a population 20% less than Germany, contributes to the bottom with 16,300 million in cash and 126,400 million in guarantees, Italy with 14,300 million and 111,100 million, respectively, and Spain as well: 9500 million in cash and 73,800 million guarantees. And there is no national debate.

If it is added to the bailout money is charged interest succulent, and Germany, and with it all the creditor countries of Greece, Ireland and Portugal, do not make a bad deal, the complaint of high paying is even more ambiguous . "Far beyond the debate over who pays 30% of the budget to help now to Portugal, Ireland and the day before yesterday to Greece, and that if Europe should not be a" union of transfers, we must take a broader view "said Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia in the bilateral Spanish-German forum held in early April in Berlin.

"We are paying for Europe, called the tabloid Bild, which feed the spiritually million Germans. "Whether Greece is maintained in the euro or not, Europe will have to pay the huge debts of the bankrupt state, and that means it will be the German taxpayer who will pay," insists the tabloid.

In relation to the few Germans Merkel is putting the economic positions of responsibility, Der Spiegel, playing this week the topic, "Germany has the money, while France leads appointments." But the point spreads: Weekly also much less turbid and certain intellectual tradition as Die Zeit, in addition to the absurd.

"The new bailout fund of 700,000 euro will be charged billion, Germany with 27% - The load distribution benefits the poorest countries in the EU", announces the weekly headlines from Hamburg, which belongs to the German press quality. The political class, especially in the coalition government, clearly encourages this pollution with its own discourse, as noted by Merkel's own last week with his statements about the excessive rental southern Europeans, are actually lower than for the Germans .

Jürgen Habermas, the number one living German philosophers spoke of a "berlusconización of Germany." The philosopher has to Chancellor Angela Merkel, who in his first term in coalition with the Social Democrats had a decent role as a "Eurosceptic" which has eroded the "European vocation" of that "Germany cooperative" cited at the time by Hans Dietrich Genscher.

Now only pending "the next big election," says Habermas. Beyond the specific accusations against individual countries, the finding is that populism is also gaining ground in Germany. The country is no exception but the norm in current European context. The theme is a central political figure of the current political crisis in the European Union.

On the one hand, the complaint is rotting the average German attitude towards the EU, on the other creates a deep malaise and resentment against Germany itself in Brussels.

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