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Greece will not manage to get back on its feet without restructuring its debt. There is no way around it. The country's creditors will have to reduce a portion of its debts by extending maturity dates, lowering interest rates or giving them what's called a 'haircut' in financial jargon.
Europe is difficult to coordinate, and our main deficit may not even lie in this area of finance and economics, but in foreign and security policy. We have a leadership problem because we are still 27 different members who have still not decided on how to work with each other based on what we used to call a European constitution.
One has to explain to people that the EU in this form is the answer both to 1945 and to the 21st century, in a dramatically altered world with new heavyweights, and that Germany benefits from the continued integration of Europe in political, economic and societal ways. And, of course, that means the Germans will have to pay.
I would happily help to turn the stone being thrown at me into a boomerang.
Over a period of 20 years, German reunification has cost 2 trillion euros, or an average of 100 billion euros a year. So, we have to ask ourselves: Aren't we willing to pay a tenth of that over several years for Europe's unity?
You can't exactly bake a man to your specifications. Most of all, one shouldn't alienate a candidate. A hybrid of Einstein, Tarzan and Inge Meysel doesn't exist. Besides, the images of politicians in the media aren't always accurate. I've had my share of experiences in that regard.
The U.S. will lose its status as the superpower of the world financial system. The world will become multi-polar.
There are still deep-seated structural problems that threaten the economic balance in the world: Between the United States and China, for example, but also within Europe. We have taken a few steps toward taming the financial markets, but we haven't come nearly far enough to rule out a repetition of the crisis.
There's no more place in the euro zone for well-meaning laxness when dealing with deficits and failings. If the demands on Greece aren't taken seriously, we'll get stuck in quicksand. In the worst case, this would make it acceptable for one tranche to not be paid out. It is in the Greeks own interest not to test that.
The euro is a vital issue for Germany. There is no other country that derives as much benefit from the common domestic market and the monetary union as Germany.
You can't let a candidate run for too long. He will be dragged along, cut apart, put back together and ripped to shreds again - from both the political opponents and the media.
But I would bet that the euro continues to exist and that its importance as a global currency will likely increase.
If I had political responsibility, I would want to prepare for a plan B that would foresee that the European currency union, that the eurozone, no longer necessarily consists of 17 member states. And that means to make provisions so that other countries are not pulled into the maelstrom through contagion.
Nevertheless, I don't hesitate to say that elections in Germany are decided in the center, not on the fringes and not in the accumulation of minority interests.
When I look at how the banking world has changed and at the role Chinese banks, for example, play today, Germany, as an export-oriented economy, should be pleased to have a major global player in its camp.
When I look at the chaotic and volatile debate right now, both in Germany and around the world, my impression and concern is that the daily barrage of proposals and political statements is making markets and consumers even more nervous. Still, Brussels is pressing for a joint European approach.
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Franz von Papen
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