German intransigence over Greece's debt travails threaten to revive ugly European arguments.
Count your blessings and do not forget to thank Greece
Yesterday was Greek Independence Day, but tell that to the Germans. German intransigence over Greece's debt travails threaten to revive ugly European arguments. Some are suggesting the Greeks should sell their islands and artefacts, while Greek politicians are blaming the Second World War for its domestic problems. As European finance chiefs try to plot a course through the muddle - typically they are having to turn to Washington and the IMF - they might finally realise this impasse is in fact an answer to their prayers.
The euro is over-valued; near parity with the pound, near all-time highs against the dollar, and even holding its own against the Japanese yen. This not only makes it unpleasantly expensive if you decide to go on holiday in the euro zone - wise people will pick Croatia instead of Greece, or Scotland over Ireland - but difficult for exporters to win business overseas. Germany's finest - Daimler, Siemens, Volkswagen and many others - have learned to live with a strong currency. But the rest of Europe's exporters could use a little lift.
As the row over the Greeks continues, so the euro suffers on the world's foreign exchanges. Keep the pot boiling would be my advice to the German finance minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and his pals, and once the euro is at a sensible rate, bung a few billion to the Greeks who have borne the gift of lower exchange rates. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org