Merkel Asserts EU Leadership, Seeks to Win Voters
By Leon Mangasarian and Patrick DonahueChancellor Angela Merkel emerged from 10 hours of negotiations in Brussels with a plan to stem the debt crisis that might as well have been written in Berlin.
The German leader forced French President Nicolas Sarkozyto bend to her will on using the European rescue fund only as a last resort, ruled out an automatic crisis-fighting role for theEuropean Central Bank and dragged banks back to the table to take greater losses on Greek debt. She even wrung further budget concessions out of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
“Merkel got what she wanted,” Shada Islam, an analyst at the Friends of Europe policy-advisory group in Brussels, said in a telephone interview yesterday after the summit. “This has confirmed Germany’s role as the make-or-break player not only in the euro-zone crisis but in European Union affairs beyond Europe.”
Comment: It took quite a while until she learnt the lesson all the while the rest of the gang began to forget it.