European Seilschaften

The image of Seilschaften, of a group of mountain-climbers connected by a rope, is as frequently used in German political discourse (both verbal and visual) as cricketing terminology in British. One common use is to represent self-interested political actors who look out for each other reciprocally. But the Greek crisis puts me to mind of a different sense of the term. The nations of the EU climbing the mountain of prosperity. Greece is lagging, but is also stuck in a position where it is blocking other members of the party. So they offer generous assistance, just long enough to manoeuvre it into a place where they can cut the rope and let it fall into the chasm without taking anyone else with it. Of course, there’s the extra piquancy that Europe’s leaders were primarily protecting private banks rather than their citizens and taxpayers.

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