Some of you might have heard of Angela Merkel. By now she’s no longer only famous for being the poster girl for superglue. She’s also rather infamous across a lot of (Southern) European countries for being the stern mother that cuts your pocket money in half and sends you to bed without dessert.
Just a couple of days ago she cost Germany the first place at the Eurovision Song Contest that they so clearly deserved.
So, to sum up, there’s a lot of bad blood between Merkel and a significant part of Europe. These days it’s hard for her to arrive in e.g. Greece without being met by a manifestation and at least one poster that goes Godwin.
Meanwhile, the decision makers at the Radboud University in Nijmegen seem to live in their own nice, rainbowy parallel world, because not only do they want to award Merkel an honorary doctorate, they also give the following reasons:
Merkel is campaigning for the future of a stable and safe Europe. A Europe that works together and provides wealth and welfare for all Europeans. With recognizable passion she is contributing to a renewed trust that is essential for the relationships within Europe.
(translated by me from this article in Dutch)
If you live in a place like Greece or Portugal or know people there, you will probably be amazed to hear this. So was I. Even the IMF (not known for its Keynesian view (or its nice-guy image) is starting to recommend growth programs for some countries. And more and more experts outside of Germany agree that austerity is the wrong way to deal with the current economic crisis, that too much austerity will seriously damage economies. And even if it weren’t, these measures are obviously ruining a lot of people’s lives.
For years now, Germany has been profitting from the current crisis in Southern Europe by a) having to pay ridiculous low interest on their bonds at the moment and b) having highly qualified Southern Europeans move to Germany to help fill the high-end jobs in a still steady economy. At the same time unemployment rates in Greece (and most other Southern European countries) are sky-rocketing, among young people they’ve passed 60%, a lot of people are forced to get their food at public soup kitchens and a nasty fascist right-wing party is getting double digits at elections.
Sounds like a Europe with wealth and welfare for everbody, right? I think we should all be grateful to Merkel for helping to form a reality where a war in Europe might again be a possibility. This sure is worth an award.
Grateful Europeans will be gathering tomorrow (Thursday) in Nijmegen to show Merkel her gratitude. If you know Dutch (or can operate Google Translate) you can find out more about it at this page (or on numerous Facebook event pages to which I will not link on principle).