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Opinion

Opinion: Keep your cool!!

To avoid a Grexit, politicians have to keep their cool in negotiations, says DW's Kay-Alexander Scholz. Angela Merkel already has it down pat.

The showdown with Greece is on, dramatic elements included. The euro has always been more than a currency, Angela Merkel said in her speech to parliament on Thursday in a reminder of what is at stake. Of course, she didn't come across as a drama queen with wildly flailing arms and a shrill voice. She was as calm as ever. She ignored the fuss about the size of Greek pensions.

Skillful gamble

Being the Lady of Cool that she is, Merkel once again listed the facts: five years of solidarity, but lagging reforms; the obligation to execute reforms, to be confirmed by the troika; then, the decision in the euro group and perhaps, again, in the Bundestag.

"Where there's a will, there's a way!" - Words like an unflinching stare into the young Greek's eyes. The message between the lines is loud and clear: "We're not moving another inch - we can't. The German people's goodwill is used up. Now, the ball is in your court. And I know that you like to play the game of who has the stronger nerves. I can wait!"

However, the showdown with Greece should not end like what is probably the most famous showdown in film history; that is, as bloody as in the movie Once Upon a Time in the West.

Kay-Alexander Scholz

DW's Kay-Alexander Scholz

In a figurative sense, "blood" could flow, however, if the European family puts the obstinate Greek child out on the stoop, who would then have to look for new step-parents from the Far East, or from beyond the Black Sea.

Other siblings might follow the example. For the first time in European unity, the EU would be in reverse gear. The EU's image would be damaged more than it is already. In the globalization game, the repercussions for Europe's financial markets could be dramatic, too. One only has to bear in mind the bets against the euro not so long ago on the other side of the Atlantic.

No one wants a Grexit

Fortunately, no one wants a Grexit - neither Merkel nor Tsipras.

That, at least, is what everyone in Berlin says. Instead, its about both leaders emerging from the situation relatively unscathed. At the moment, they're negotiating at what price for their respective constituencies. Gambling is part of a politician's skills, and so is keeping one's cool. Because each and every overheated reaction could raise the danger of bad blood being shed in the end, if only in a figurative sense. And we can't let that happen!

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