Another rough day for borrowers and lenders in Athens and Berlin. Only Polonius could be pleased.
In Germany, where a large share of the Greek bailout money must be found, Angela Merkel has begged the German parliament to send taxpayers’ cash to Athens. “Quite simply, Europe’s future is at stake,” Merkel said. “Europe is at a fork in the road.”
German Euroskeptics (if there were none before, there are many now) probably think it’s too bad it’s not a knife, since the EU has announced that neither Germany nor the other EU states have any choice left but to send money to the ungrateful Greeks, who don’t seem very interested in embracing austerity. The Times reports that angry loan applicants have found their own way to deal with the banks — they toss Molotov cocktails into the lobby:
Two women and one man died in the blaze after a petrol bomb was hurled into the bank in the centre of the capital by hooded demonstrators. It is not clear whether the victims were customers or whether they worked at the site. Employees covered in ash fled the burning building which was completely destroyed.
Demonstrators attempted to storm the Greek parliament as riot police used tear gas against tens of thousands protesting against austerity measures.
Merkel’s plea, correctly understood: The EU must be preserved so borrowers in Lisbon, Madrid, and all those other places where an overpaid, bloated welfare state flourishes can deposit their own firebombs in public buildings.
Of course, that welfare state – what EU president Herman Van Rompuy described as “the European way of life,” as I wrote earlier here – is now Euro-wide.
London soon may host its own Greek tragedy, if this item in the Guardian is correct. “The UK budget deficit will swell this year to overtake Greece, becoming the worst in the European Union, the European commission said today in a stark warning.” This report comes the day before a general election; one of those three British visionaries vying for a flat in Downing Street will have to solve the problem.