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German editorial writers were divided on Friday over the significance of a new bailout for Greece, established at an emergency eurozone summit at which German Chancellor Angela Merkel played a central role.
Angela Merkel, the "passionate European"
"So it is possible after all," wrote Berliner Zeitung. "Contrary to expectations, the summit's message turned out to be clear and European." But the summit's real sensation, the paper commented, was the birth of a European Monetary Fund - "an institution that corrects the currency union's faulty design, namely the existence of a common currency without a political union."
Süddeutsche Zeitung applauded the long-awaited clarity that seemed to emerge at the summit. "No one can question the system any longer," the paper wrote. "Since the spring, the European Union has decided on an impressive series of reforms, which would never have seen the light of day had it not been for the pressure the problems created."
Compared to what was expected just a few days ago, Die Welt said, the summit was a pleasant surprise. The paper went on to comment that people might think the glass is half full - while in reality "it is half empty." The summit's aim was to alleviate fears of a widening of the crisis to other countries, the paper said, - but it is questionable whether that goal was achieved.
Mittelbayerische Zeitung even described saving the euro as a nightmarish deja vu: another emergency summit in Brussels, another bailout package for Greece, more half-hearted invocations by politicians that the joint currency cannot be allowed to die. "Yesterday's meeting in the EU capital will not have been the last.European leaders have again merely managed to buy time," the paper said. "No matter how many aid packages are launched - all they do is delay bankruptcy."
Many details are still unclear, Börsenzeitung noted, but added that this much is evident: "The European debt and transfer union - which means a eurozone member can bail out another, - is taking shape. Which is no wonder since the banks may have been seated at the negotiating table in Brussels - but the taxpayers weren't present.
Some papers focused on the fact that private sector bondholders have agreed to contribute to the rescue package, saying that convincing them to sign in on the bailout was Chancellor Angela Merkel's success.
"Angela Merkel wants private investors to participate in the Greek bailout, and she gets her way", Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung said and asked, how does she do it? "Maybe she is more stubborn than her opponents." The paper warned, however, that while it's an important political success for the German government, "it remains to be seen whether it's also an important contribution to saving the euro - just as unclear as the entire bailout package's effect." Nevertheless, the paper concluded that the stock markets' relieved reaction to the agreement showed that it was, of course, of value.
tageszeitung, which features a title picture with Merkel's face imprinted on a one-euro coin, said Merkel had "made her mark on the euro." The paper said the summit marked the beginning of a new era for the euro, and speculated that it was just a matter of time before the eurozone nations took the next important step, that is, issuing joint eurobonds. That would liberate the eurozone from financial markets, the paper said - truly "a historic step."
Author: Dagmar Breitenbach (dpa)
Editor: Susan Houlton