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European Debt Crisis

Germany’s tough role in euro debt crisis

Stephen Beard Dec 8, 2011

Steve Chiotakis: It’s the eighth time European Union leaders have met to help save the euro. And this time, there’s a new plan from France and Germany that’ll likely serve as starting point.

But as Marketplace’s Stephen Beard reports from Brussels, there’s been a lot of grumbling about Germany’s role.

Stephen Beard: The plan calls for a new European treaty. It would spell out strict limits on the budgets of the 17 countries that use the euro. Any country that broke the rules would suffer automatic penalties. The plan is more German than French. For the first time in 60 years, Germany is the clear leader of Europe. That’s provoked some complaint here about German dominance.

But Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a German member of the European parliament, says this is grossly unfair — and will be all too familiar to Americans.

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff: The world clamors for American leadership; when leadership is exercised, the world complains about bullying by the Americans. It’s a little bit like this with Germany inside the European Union.

And it was not that long ago that Germany was accused of dithering over the debt crisis. But Germany in the drivers seat remains a tricky issue. One correspondent to a British newspaper wrote: The Second World War has just ended, and Germany has won.

In Brussels, I’m Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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