The Corner

Merkel vs. The People

The Daily Telegraph reports on the explosion of popular joy after the German parliament approved the latest bailout: 

[O]utside the walls of the emblematic Reichstag building on Thursday morning few were optimistic that the right decision had been made.

“It’s a grave mistake and it is certainly not in the interests of the people,” insisted Michael Nickel, a 32-year-old civil servant.

On an unseasonably warm September day and as the sun glinted off the vast glass dome topping the edifice that once was the seat of Hitler’s Third Reich, he shielded his eyes from the glare.

“It’s quiet here now but if this continues, and it will, then the people will rise up. We have had enough of giving, giving, giving, and with the knowledge that we will never see any of that money again.”

Like many Germans he is furious that the taxpayer is being asked to contribute yet more of their hard-earned money to bail out the weaker nations.

“A year and a half ago we were asked to dig deep into our pockets to help, we were told it was a one-off payment and it was necessary to save the euro,” he continued. “Well, we did that, and we did it willingly, to show solidarity with the weaker states like Greece, because that is the nature of a community.”

He cites a recent opinion poll by FORSA that suggests 84pc of voters oppose the expansion of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF). As Europe’s biggest economy, Germany foots more than a quarter of the bill for each bail-out within the mechanism.

“But the bail-outs haven’t helped. Greece is in more trouble than ever and yet we are preparing to give them more handouts. Where will it end?” Mr Nickel asks.

Good question. The answer is unlikely to be pleasant.

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