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Merkel, Sarkozy And The Blind Waltz Of Europe's Rescue Plans For Greece

Op-Ed: After being forced to shelve their proposal for a European-appointed Greek budget commissioner, the German-France "Merkozy" duo now are floating the idea of a special account for Greek debt. But this is just one more symbolic atte

Students demonstrating last October in Florence (Collettivo Politico Scienze Politiche)
A quick fix won't do (kevinpoh)
Jan Dams

BERLIN - Over the past two years there has been no shortage of suggestions about how to rescue Greece. And none has received as much attention as the diplomatically unwise German proposal to appoint a "budget commissioner" to Athens.

Having gotten the thumbs down on that one from other euro-zone countries, Angela Merkel along with her French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy have now come up with an equally spectacular plan. This time, the idea is for a special account to be opened into which Greece would pay the interest it owes on debts, thus ensuring that holders of Greek debt were paid off.

Unfortunately, this proposal is as peculiar as the commissioner idea – in this case, because all that is likely to accrue in the account is negative interest from being permanently overdrawn.

The idea is little more than an expression of the deepest kind of desperation. Europe's most powerful politicians don't have a clue how to bring this small country into line. Merkel and Sarkozy, aka "Merkozy," have long recognized that not only is the will for change missing in Greece – so are the bureaucratic structures needed to implement promises of reform.

But both Merkel and Sarkozy are afraid to admit this publicly, and draw the necessary conclusions. It's better to take a symbolic stab at policy. And the Greeks understand that only all too well.

They know that the only thing driving these proposals is short-term fear of severe turbulence in the rest of the euro zone if they are kicked out. And as long as that's the case, nothing's going to change in Athens. It's high time, instead, that this or that new idea gives way to a whole new strategy.

Read the original article in German

Photo - kevinpoh

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Brian Cahn/ZUMA
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