Can euro rescue absolve Holocaust guilt?
Published: 21 May 12 15:36 CET | Print version
Former Bundesbank board member Thilo Sarrazin has provoked outrage by arguing that Germany's euro policy is driven by a Holocaust guilt trip. He also said the single currency was always a bad idea. Does he have a point? Have your say.
Sarrazin likes to present himself as Germany's arch provocateur, and his latest book "Europe Doesn't Need the Euro" does not disappoint. He has successfully grabbed attention by saying Germany's euro bailout was "driven by the very German reflex that the Holocaust and World War II will only be finally atoned for when all our other interests, including our money, is in Europe's hands."
Sarrazin says that the after-effects of World War II turned European integration into a "pure ideology" which has made "Germany a hostage" to "anyone in the eurozone who might need help in the future."
But the main purpose of Sarrazin's 400-page book is to undermine the assumptions that underpin the European single currency. He described his argument as a riposte to Chancellor Angela Merkel's claim that "if the euro fails, Europe fails."
The Social Democratic Party member argues that Germany's economic stability, based on a healthy export industry, does not need the euro to thrive, and that financially weaker countries like Greece should simply be cut off from EU aid and left to fend for themselves.
He blames Greece's political class for the country's troubles, accusing the country's politicians of corruption and egotism.
Sarrazin also rejects the idea of introducing "Eurobonds" to re-finance struggling economies as "the ultimate communalisation of financial policy at the expense of financially strong nations."
He calls for two key changes in European Union policy – indebted countries should be allowed to leave the single currency at any time, and eurozone countries should have the freedom to balance their own budgets without EU intervention.
Two heavyweight German politicians - former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrück and his successor Wolfgang Schäuble have dismissed Sarrazin's arguments - as "bullshit" and "appalling nonsense," respectively.
Do you agree with any of Sarrazin's points, or do you think that he is merely using populist pseudo-nationalistic arguments to market his new book? Have your say below.
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