Falsified by reality

Has the euro actually brought more advantages than disadvantages to the Germans??

Since the 5. July, the Federal Constitutional Court is hearing a case on the compatibility of the so-called "Euro bailout" vom Mai 2010 mit dem Grundgesetz. The attorney of the German Bundestag, Franz Mayer, a lawyer from Bielefeld, defends the resolutions with very fundamental arguments: among other things, he believes that the lawsuit is not admissible simply because there is no "Fundamental right to democracy" gebe, das ein Parlament daran hindert, sich durch Zahlungsverpflichtungen selbst zu entmachten.

The background of these payment obligations is the preservation of the European community preservation, which, according to its defenders, brought Germany indispensable advantages. Sieht man sich diese angeblichen Vorteile allerdings etwas genauer an, dann wird aus dem PR-Weib schnell ein Realitatsgrau. A rather dark even.

Falsified by reality

In the forefront of all others is the argument that the D-mark, by facilitating speculation in the 1990s, was too weak a currency in the international arena to be able to defend itself against speculators. This is a good-sounding theory, but since 2009 it has been falsified by reality: While the euro countries, despite ever new and ever more gigantic rescue packages, seem to be falling victim to speculators, the Swiss franc – a currency from a country with fewer inhabitants than Bavaria – was able to stabilize remarkably quickly after brief turbulence in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. The comparison with the dollar, which is used as proof of the alleged stability of the euro, is of only limited value due to the miraculous increase in the money supply in the U.S. and is more a psychological recourse to Watzlawick’s zero level principle.

Another frequently heard argument is that the euro has made exports to the other euro countries less bureaucratic and has thus been responsible for a boom in the agricultural economy. However, if we take a closer look at the development of exports, we see that the share of exports to other euro countries fell from 46 to 41 percent between 1999 and 2010, while the share of exports to other currency zones increased accordingly.

Angela Merkel’s statement that Germany was benefiting from the euro "like hardly any other country", The fact that real wages here have fallen by 0.8 percent in the last eight years, while they have risen in all other EU countries, gives the situation a somewhat different meaning than the Chancellor probably intended.

In addition, since 1999 (when the exchange rates in the euro zone were fixed), the Federal Republic has had the lowest growth rate of all participating countries, averaging just 1.2 percent. And growth in the EU, including the countries not participating in the euro, averaged 1.7 percent, higher than that of the euro countries, which only achieved 1.5 percent. This naturally raises the question of whether the much stronger growth of Sweden or Great Britain is not also due to the political room for maneuver that preserving one’s own offers.

But even the apparent profiteers in southern and western Europe seem to have been rather hurt by the euro in the medium term: There, the unusually low interest rates quickly led to the formation of real estate bubbles, which are considered to be one of the main causes of the current misery in Spain, for example. The capital that was transferred there by institutional investors in the last ten years because of the tempting conditions was missing in Germany for investments.

It is therefore hardly surprising that, despite immense propaganda efforts such as full-page managerial advertisements in national daily newspapers, trust in the protection of the environment is only present in about one-fifth of all Germans, according to a recent Allensbach survey. Tendency to continue to decline. Only 15 percent believe that the rescue packages will stabilize the currency.

However, the dissolution of a common currency does not have to be a catastrophe for the countries involved – this is shown by historical examples such as the Latin or Scandinavian Monetary Union: The last of the two became a waste of time due to differing monetary policies, and the first, which involved Greece as well as France, Belgium, Italy and Switzerland, failed not only because of the First World War, but also because contractual obligations regarding government spending were only met to a very limited extent.