Historical parallels can be relentless.

“Eleven years ago, Greece experienced a sovereign debt crisis.

The causes were irresponsible fiscal policies and bad luck,” wrote Thomas Phillipon, a French economist who teaches in America, on Twitter recently.

“Today Germany is experiencing a geopolitical crisis.

The causes are an irresponsible energy policy and bad luck.

Greece's bad luck was a global financial crisis that originated in the American housing market.

Germany's bad luck consists of the unpredictable decisions of an entrenched tyrant."

Gerald Braunberger


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“Greek politicians relied on the credibility of the euro, which allowed cheap and seemingly unlimited borrowing – for a while.

Germany has done the same with its energy policy,” analyzes Phillipon.

Germany had prepared itself for a permanent flow of cheap gas from Russia and made itself dependent on Moscow.

Europe has to suffer from Greek financial policy as well as from German energy policy: "Later, when the sources of finance dried up, the Greek politicians imposed the costs on their European fellow citizens." In its energy policy, Germany rejected the costs of diversification: "The costs are now supported by other countries, since Germany's dependence limits the ability of European politics to act."

That's strong stuff, but the comparison doesn't seem inadmissible.

It could be continued further.

As a remedy against wrong policy, Germany urgently suggested structural reforms to Greece, the implementation of which should not be hesitated.

The Germans would have liked to remind the Greeks that bad luck is no excuse for bad politics, Phillipon notes.

The policies imposed on Greece necessarily led to a severe but temporary economic crisis there.

In support of the call for rapid structural reforms, it has rightly been argued that shock therapy allows a market economy to adapt quickly and thus reduces long-term suffering.

"I expect Germany to lead and not lag behind!"

Today, according to its leading politicians and business leaders, Germany does not see itself in a position to quickly turn away from an unfortunate energy policy on the question of an embargo on natural gas, because the opponents fear catastrophic consequences for the German economy.

Even if bad luck is not an excuse for bad politics in Germany, the increasing number of declarations by politicians and managers that no disaster was coming and that they were mistaken about Putin are no excuse for the absence of a crisis-proof energy policy strategy.

A lack of understanding about this can be heard in Eastern Europe, among others, but also in the European Parliament, which on Thursday came out in favor of a total energy embargo.

Guy Verhofstadt, former Prime Minister in Belgium and now MEP, found clear words.

"After the horror of World War II, a very strong and democratic Germany emerged," he said.

“But I expect leadership from such a Germany.

Lead by example and not by lagging behind, as we see it today.” Germany is threatened with damage to its reputation, which will weaken its position in Europe.

In the coming years, Berlin will be able to spare itself warnings to partner countries that they should kindly tackle structural reforms.