The Guardian, June 18, 2012
According to a story doing the rounds on Twitter on Sunday, a group of drunken German tourists refused to pay their bar bill in a club in Crete. Asked why not, they reportedly told the barman that it was the Greeks who owed them money.
To Greeks, the Germans are exploiting their situation, seeking to impose tough austerity that is driving their economy to ruin.
Many Germans, on the other hand, are resentful of the bailouts to the Greeks, whom they regard as corrupt and lazy. A recent poll showed that 49% of Germans would prefer Greece to leave the eurozone altogether.
Following the elections in Greece, the tabloid Bild was quick to get its digs in again. “The election was free, but it has consequences,” it wrote in an editorial. “It divides and weakens the country and doesn’t help the euro out of the crisis.”
“Greece has not openly said no to the euro – but it has chickened out of saying a clear yes. One thing is clear: the torturous struggle will go on.”
Guido Westerwelle, the foreign minister, seemed to express a certain exasperation with the lack of gratitude in Greece. Although he welcomed the victory of the conservative New Democracy he also pointed out that Germany had been generous and “shown solidarity with the Greeks”, contributing some €40bn to the Greek bailouts. “They could also say thank you,” he told public broadcaster ARD.
Before the vote, Bild warned the Greeks against voting for the far-left Syriza. “If you did not want our billions, it would have been fine by us for you to vote for any leftist or rightist clown you wanted,” it wrote in a Greek language editorial. “But your ATMs continue to give you euros only because we put them there.”