Greek ‘no’ vote puts spotlight on heightened global role of Germany’s Merkel

Special to

The depth of German influence, and that of Chancellor Angela Merkel, is being put to the test by Greece and the cavalcade of critics who piled on after Greeks voted “no” on the July 5 economic referendum.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

Merkel’s popularity in Germany, however, has remained solid throughout the Greek crisis. She has a 67 percent favorability rating, according to a poll conducted at the end of June. In a poll taken in early July, a mere 10 percent of Germans supported further concessions for Greece.

“What is happening now is a defeat for Germany, especially, far more than for any other country,” Marcel Fratzscher, head of the German Institute for Economic Research, told The Wall Street Journal following Sunday’s referendum.

“Germany has, at the end of the day, helped determine most of the European decisions of the last five years.”

Others around Europe used the Greek crisis to take shots at Merkel and Germany’s rise to dominance in the European Union.

Spain’s anti-austerity leader, Pablo Iglesias, said “we don’t want to be a German colony.”

Italian populist Beppe Grillo chimed in, saying “now Merkel and bankers will have food for thought.”

In Germany’s parliament last week, left-wing opposition leader Gregor Gysi blamed Merkel for Greece’s soaring unemployment rate, painful wage cuts, and “soup kitchens upon soup kitchens.”

You must be logged in to post a comment Login