If one listens to much to the right wingers and top brass politicians in the EU, one might believe that taxpayers in northern Europe and especially those in Germany are the Prügelknabe of Europe, forced to pay for the extravagance, corruption and heedlessness of the people of the crisis hit southern Europe. Strikingly, after years of crisis and bailouts totaling more than 400 million euros, the northern euro zone taxpayers has yet to lose a single euro cent.
In September German voters will elect a new parliament and government. One of the most tense issues in the election campaigns are Germany’s relationship with crisis hit nations in the south, and the bailouts they have received. But the case is not that Germany gambles away the people’s money on corrupt Spaniards, the fact is that Berlin, along other northern euro zone governments actually saves money on the deal.
“As an unintentional consequence of the crisis, Finland has benefited enormously,” said Martti Salmi, the head of international and EU affairs at Finland’s ministry of finance.
“We have not lost a cent so far,” he told Reuters. “The same as for Germany very much holds for Finland.”
Klaus Regling, the german who heads the euro zone’s bail out fund, cites two studies that shows how the German government in Berlin has benefited economically from the crisis. One of the studies, done by Allianz, has calculated that in 2011-2012, Berlin saved a good 10.2 billion euros due to lowered borrowing cause.
Many anti-EU parties has drawn much support for their attacks on the bail outs of the south with rhetoric arguing that their countries are spending their hard-earned money on keeping corrupt nations afloat. In Finland, the True Fins is just such a party. They do not tell the truth.
According to Reuters, the Finnish central bank contributed 227 million euros to the Finnish budget in 2013 as a result of profits made on the Greek, Spanish and Portuguese government bonds it holds, 40 million euros more than it made in 2011.
This year, the profit should rise to 360 million.
Politicians in Northern Europe has not been open about this effect of the crisis, instead they have chosen to attack the people of the south as lazy and corrupt.
For the bail out loans to pose any risk to the taxpayers, the countries taking the loans must default, a possibility that looks increasingly distant.
This rhetoric of north against south only breeds hate and mistrust between the people’s of Europe. Germans and Greeks should not hate each other, but target their anger at the economic system and politicians who made this crisis possible in the first place.