1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

German press review: 'Greece still divided'

June 19, 2012

German papers say the Greeks still have a long way to go even after this weekend's election which temporarily mollified worries that the country would elect a government that wants out of the eurozone.

Illustration - Verschiedene deutsche Tageszeitungen, wie Mitteldeutsche Zeitung, Sächsische Zeitung, Die Welt, Frankfurter Allgemeine, liegen zur Presseschau bereit, aufgenommen am 23.11.2009 in Leipzig (Wischeffekt). Foto: Jan Woitas
Deutschland Symbolbild deutsche Presseschau PresseImage: picture-alliance/dpa

In an editorial entitled, "Room on brink of collapse," Germany's liberal-leaning Süddeutsche Zeitung argued on its website Monday that the new Greek government already found itself in a predicament akin to that described in Joseph Heller's iconic novel, Catch-22.

"If the Greek government turns its back on Europe, it will risk almost certain financial disarray. If it is perceived as being too conciliatory to Brussels [the European Union] and Washington [the International Monetary Fund], it risks reigniting the wrath of its people."

"Will Greece really be able to put a government together," asked the conservative German daily Die Welt: "On the one hand, the election results are quite clear - of course the Greeks will be able to forge a coalition. But then again, Greece wouldn't be Greece if things were that easy."

The paper went on to point out that there were apparently more Greeks afraid of exiting the eurozone than there were Greeks willing to take the plunge into financial sovereignty.

"It's all quite clear, really: In the end the conservative Nea Dimokratia was able to round up more Greeks than the leftist radicals were, and this is a truly comforting sign for Europe. But this solace should not be overestimated. The Greeks have a mountain yet to climb, one that entails changing their ways. And behavior patterns that have been instilled over decades can't be altered overnight."

A supporter of Nea Dimokratia party waves a Greek flag
Greece is facing a Catch-22, wrote Germany's Süddeutsche ZeitungImage: AP

Byzantine Haggling

The western-German daily Neue Osnabrücker Zeitung commented on its website Monday that Greece would have to go through a cumbersome haggling process before it could even put together a government set to go through with the necessary cuts.

"How many 'what-would-happen-if' scenarios are going to have to be considered before a government is formed? But it looks as if Europe-friendly Nea Dimokratia will be able to determine Greece's future course and this is certainly a sign that the Greeks are listening to reason. The Anti-Merkel populism propagated by Tsipras and his reform-blocking party has been rejected, but this doesn't mean that the political - nor debt - crisis is over. The jitters in Greece, on markets and all around Europe won't go away until Greece's parties can put together a solid government.

Democracy in the pillory

The news magazine Der Spiegel expressed criticism at the German government on its website Monday in response to Merkel's harsh line on Greece. In an editorial entitled, "Europe is Weimar" - an explicit reference to the Weimar Republic government which preceded the National Socialists' takeover of power in 1933 - the magazine argued that Merkel was damaging democracy in Europe by making it appear as if Greece and other indebted nations were "after [Germany's] money."

Alexis Tsipras
The results from this weekend's vote are still up in the airImage: Reuters

"Angela Merkel is treading dangerous waters, even if she hasn't said explicitly that Greece is after Germany's money. She is loosening Germany's commitment to Europe. She wants to make it look like Europe is something that Germany is in a position to rescue or let perish, depending on whether it's in Germany's interests or not. But this is turning Europe into a res publica amissa, a matter of public neglect. This happened once before, and we all know what happened."

Compiled by Gabriel Borrud
Editor: Joanna Impey