The Background: The Eurozone crisis which has engulfed most of the major European economies seems to have caused more discomfort in Germany than in the faltering economies of Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain (fondly called as the PIGS nations). German people are fed up of footing the bills for the Greeks, the Irish, the Portuguese and now the Spanish Banks. The Germans have been on a bailout spree for almost a year now.
The bailouts, though financed through the European Central Bank (ECB), are actually paid from the German Exchequer (as Germany is the biggest holder of ECB sovereign bonds; moreover, with other major European economies like France, Italy and Spain neck deep in debts, the onus to keep the Eurozone from sinking has fallen on broad German shoulders).
With a booming economy and budgetary surplus accumulated over years, Deutschland is finding itself in a spot of bother for all the hard work done by its people. And all this charity is not going down well with the German populace. Whereas most nations get in trouble for their laziness and inefficiency, Germany is in trouble for just the opposite.
The reason behind the develop- ments: What seems to have put this unique and absurd legislation on fast track mode is the speculation that the next European nation to go broke is none other than France. We all know that France and Germany don’t share a very cozy relation, what with the French mocking the Germans for their “crude” language, “barbaric” cuisine and “physical” football. Opinion polls in have shown that Germans are willing to sacrifice a month’s pay rather than footing the bill for the French. As head of the CDU party puts it, “For the Greeks we can pay the bill; even for the Irish, they also love beer. But not for those champagne-sipping French; never. We would rather bail out Zimbabwe.” Now that was some strong statement.
Political analysts say that the legislation popularly known as “Finally, a break!” bill becomes even more necessary as more European nations set to falter in the coming months. It’s even speculated that UK wants to join the EU to have a share of German benevolence.
With the bill almost set to become a law, the Germans can look forward to a long deserved break. Germany has the longest work week in the EU. While the average French and the Italian enjoys a 2-week-long paid vacation in the summers along with other customary holidays, Germans are known to work even on Christmas Eve. A month-long break for the agricultural, manufacturing and services sector is estimated to bring down annual productivity by almost 12%. With a year or two of such November holidays, the German economy will be at par with the French and the others and most importantly, eligible for a bailout themselves.
The joke doing round in Germany these days is that “For every Euro earned by a German, 10 cents each land up in the pockets of Greeks, Irish and the Portuguese and 20 cents are saved for the eventual mess the Italians are going to find themselves in”. Well it’s time to crack a new one.