Tuesday, July 14, 2015
What the Greek debt deal shows about power in Europe
July 13, 2015
When the financial details are stripped away, the Greek bailout deal reached early Monday morning is really a reassertion of the core idea of post-war Europe — which is that France and Germany will stick together.
The bailout terms are complicated, and they reflect compromises that will anger hard-liners both in Greece, who will see the deal as a diktat by creditors, and in Northern Europe, where many will see it as a capitulation to profligate debtors in Athens.
But the north-south debate misses the essential alignment, which is Paris-Berlin. During the bailout crisis, Europe walked to the brink — not just in terms of a weak Greece exiting the euro zone, but of a strong Germany decoupling from its partners. With Monday’s deal, the core of Europe reaffirmed its partnership, regardless of what happens in the small peripheral country of Greece.