A few months before the election of the German Chancellor, Vice Chancellor and Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel admitted that a potential collapse of the European Union is no longer unthinkable.
There was a time when even the smallest clue to the collapse of the euro was considered to be a forbidden subject in Europe. Who can forget Mario Draghi’s response to a question from the Zero Hedge website readers who have asked if there is a “plan if the nation is forced to withdraw from the eurozone.”
At the time, Draghi replied: “If the eurozone collapses and if a country leaves the euro zone, is not an easy matter. This is very important. It is a project in the European Union. For this reason it is difficult to ask people like me ‘What would happen if’. There is no Plan B “.
To show how closed Europe was, even the mere possibility of a separation was unthinkable: “There is no Plan B”.
Three years later, when things in Europe have changed dramatically for the worse, as many have warned, German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel said, quoted by Reuters, that “a collapse of the Eurozone is no longer unthinkable.”
In an interview with Der Spiegel, Gabriel said that “Germany’s insistence on austerity in the euro zone has divided Europe more than ever, and a collapse of the European Union is no longer inconceivable.”
Gabriel, whose Social Democratic Party (SPD) is a partner of the Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in the ruling coalition, said that the significant efforts of countries like France and Italy to reduce their fiscal deficits, were accompanied by political risks.
In an attempt to politicize once again the sensitive issue [for the Germans] of excessive spending or debt, Gabriel argued: “At one point I asked the Chancellor, what would be more costly for Germany: France to be allowed to have a deficit higher by half percent, or Marine Le Pen to become president? “, referring to the leader of the French far-right National Front.
“So far, she has not yet given an answer,” added Gabriel, whose SPD party focuses more on investment, while Merkel’s conservatives put more emphasis on fiscal discipline as the foundation of economic prosperity.
The difference in ideology will lead to a political confrontation in nine months: it is estimated that the SPD will appoint Gabriel, their president who is also Minister of Economy, to compete against Angela Merkel as chancellor in the federal elections in September 2017, according to Reuters.
On the other hand, Gabriel himself recognizes that a campaign platform based on overspending, might not be the smartest thing in Germany. Asked if he truly believes he could win more votes by transferring more German money to other EU countries, he said: “I know this discution is extremely unpopular.”
“But also I know the status of the European Union. It is no longer inconceivable that it might fall apart,” Gabriel said in the interview, which was published Saturday. “If this were to happen, our children and grandchildren will curse us,” he added. “Since Germany is the largest beneficiary of the European community – economically and politically.”
His last comment raises another question: why other EU countries, particularly Greece which went through seven years of economic crisis, just to stay in the eurozone, demand vehemently to remain in a “community” in which the biggest beneficiary is Germany, now that also it’s vice-chancellor recognizes this aspect?
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