EU paradise LOST: Germans hit out at Greeks, Italians & Spanish ‘they think debt is great’

Angela Merkel heckled during speech in German Bundestag

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Angela Merkel’s ally, Paul Ziemiak, took the opportunity to blast politicians in southern European countries, as he criticised his rival Olaf Scholz. Speaking to T-Online, the CDU General Secretary uncovered a deeper resentment between Germany and southern members strongly indebted by the 2008 economic crisis and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Lashing out against EU leaders in the south of Europe, he said: “European solidarity is important, that is very clear.

“And in times of need you help each other. We just proved that.

“But to simply say: ‘We are able to do it’ and simply transfer the Germans’ money to other countries, I think that’s wrong.

“The people in southern Europe are no less hardworking and innovative than anywhere else.

“But in the past there were often politicians in these countries who thought as the SPD does in Germany.

“There were several Italian, Greek and Spanish Olaf Scholz’s, if you will.

“These are politicians who think getting into debt is a great thing. And Italy, Spain and Greece are still on the verge of national bankruptcy.”

Mr Ziemiak’s comments echoed the concern often voiced by northern EU countries such as the frugal four (Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden) and Finland.

Euroscepticism in these countries has been on the rise in the past few years.

The Dutch are growing particularly frustrated with the economic divide between the north and the south, lamenting northern taxpayers are having to foot the bill for mistakes made by southern governments.

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Along with like-minded Germany, the frugal four advocate for EU budget rebates and tight fiscal policies in the eurozone governed by the Stability and Growth Pact.

But southern countries are now asking for some of the strict rules governing the euro to be permanently scrapped even after a period of suspension instated for the coronavirus pandemic.

At the lead of such proposals is Italian prime minister Mario Draghi who wants to undermine the rules that see the budget deficit of the euro countries limited to three percent of their economic output and the total debt to 60 percent.

It is a plan heavily indebted Italy has been harbouring for many years but has regularly failed to press forward with due to the resistance of the northern European euro countries.

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EU Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni is also calling for the fiscal rules to be “adapted to the new realities”.

The former Italian prime minister and the current Italian leader Mario Draghi would only need a qualified majority to axe the rule.

Unanimity would instead be required to make changes to the Maastricht Treaty and the 60 percent criteria to be abandoned altogether.

The latter would remain, but only as an effective shell, as countries such as Italy, Greece, Spain or Portugal would no longer have any direct pressure from Brussels to consistently reduce their debts.

Northern countries are expected to fight the proposal with teeth and nails.

Additional reporting by Monika Pallenberg

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