It appears Angela Merkel’s optimism about the possibility of reaching a deal on Monday (20 July) was well-founded. Even though the €390 billion in grants is quite a bit less than the Chancellor and her French counterpart were hoping for, the German Chancellor put a positive spin on the deal, saying that the agreement will allow the worst-hit countries to recover. The compromise has nevertheless left some to wonder whether the Franco-German engine is losing steam.
Despite the compromise and cuts, Merkel still seemed positive about the deal, saying that what counts is that the countries reached agreement in the end. “Europe has shown it is able to break new ground in such a special situation,” she told this morning’s press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.
The resistance from the Frugal Four rubbed some German politicians the wrong way. Der Spiegel reported that Merkel was “annoyed” with the group.
Norbert Röttgen, MP and contender for CDU chair, decried the “extent of egoism on the part of individual participants,” warning it “does not do justice to the historical task we all face of preserving the unity of Europe.”
By contrast, some parts of the German media landscape were more sympathetic to the frugals. The tabloid Bild harkened back to 2008-style sentiments with its headline “Why should WE pay for Spain and Italy?”
Some in Germany are also wondering whether the Frugal Four’s strength in negotiations means that the Franco-German engine is not as powerful as once thought, as Björn Finke wrote in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
(Sarah Lawton | EURACTIV.de)