It’s Germany’s worst nightmare. Increasingly isolated, ganged up on, and even hated by much of southern Europe, it is fast losing the argument over the future of the euro.
Even the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has been at it. This week he joined in the German bashing with a full-frontal attack on Berlin’s austerity agenda. And it’s causing confusion, dismay and resentment in equal measure in this most stable, disciplined and civilised of nations.
To understand the decisive shift in narrative that has taken place in Europe over the last couple of weeks – from the defeat Germany has suffered at the hands of the European Central Bank, to the Syriza victory in Greece and its demands for debt forgiveness – you have to go back to the euro’s origins and Germany’s place in it.
Germans never wanted the single currency in the first place, for like Britain, they instinctively understood where it would lead – to a fiscal, or transfer, union which Germany, as Europe’s dominant economy, would be forced to bankroll. If given a referendum, they’d have said no.