It may have been a bad idea to send a German. And his name certainly didn’t help matters.
When Horst Reichenbach arrived in Athens recently to head a new European Union task force to help the country deal with its debt, the Greek media instantly dubbed him “Third Reichenbach.”
Cartoons appeared of him in Nazi uniform. A Greek tabloid showed a photo of his office with the headline: “The new Gestapo headquarters.”
The Greeks are not alone in harboring suspicions toward Germany, which occupied the country during World War II. The British conservative press is up in arms. The Daily Mail went so far as to accuse the Germans  of attempting to use the euro crisis to “conquer Europe” and establish a “Fourth Reich.” Meanwhile in Poland, Germany’s supposed imperial ambitions became an issue in the recent elections.
And as the euro crisis has deepened, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has pushed for the EU to have a greater say in the domestic governance of the euro zone’s seventeen members. Among other measures, she has called for real European power over countries’ budgets.Read the rest at Business Insider
There's No Getting Around It, Germany Is Taking Over Europe
by Siobhan Dowling, GlobalPost
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)
This is developing in a dangerous direction socially, politically and economically. Too many memories still lively. Greeks are not alone in this perception.
The rest of the article provides a good analysis of the European situation in terms of where it is now and where it came from.
Here's the nub of it:
“The counterpart to Germany living within its means is that others are living beyond their means;” said Philip Whyte, senior research fellow at the London-based Centre for European Reform. “So if Germany is worried about the fact that other countries are sinking further into debt, it should be worried about the size of its trade surpluses, but it isn’t.”Germany is running a mercantilist empire in Europe. And German workers are not sharing in the bounty either.
Another key fact is that while other countries regard Germany as an economic colossus with the means (if not the will) to help, the reality for its workers is at odds with this image. While wages increased significantly in many other countries over the past decade, in Germany they have remained stagnant for years. A report released by the Berlin-based German Institute for Economic Research last week showed that when adjusted for inflation, wages actually declined by 4.2 percent over the past decade.
In part, this is due to the mushrooming of low-paid, precarious jobs, a result of the labor law liberalization that helped boost growth. Yet even in highly unionized jobs, wages have not risen significantly.
“There has been a large shift of income from labor to capital,” said Whyte, at the Centre for European Reform. “In other words, German firms are now sitting on large piles of cash, but German workers have not been getting pay rises.”