Last week, in a Telegraph article headed “Germany and Britain must now reshape Europe“, the aptly named Wolfgang Novak revealed all. Novak is at the centre of German thinking, being the former chancellor Gerhard Schroder’s senior economic adviser. Much of the article is taken up with the inevitable railing against Greece’s financial irresponsibility before slipping comfortably into that old German persecution complex of “why is everyone always picking on us?”Then out comes the spine-chilling lines: “There is common thinking between Berlin and London. France is too weak to resist – she will join us. It is the hour of Europe it is the hour of Britain”. Deja vu or what? Any student of the run up to the Second World War will recognise this thought process and we all know what happened next. Just in case you might think this is a mere slip of Novak’s pen, he warms to his theme with the priceless observation that “what Europe needs is the common sense of Germany, Austria and the Netherlands”. Fortunately for us, although Germany clearly continues to regard itself as the superior European race, it is no longer in the business of conducting military campaigns to prove it. Accordingly, our best policy must be to steer well clear of Novak’s siren calls. In my view this is re-enforced by Germany’s stunning hypocrisy on two fronts. Firstly it never tires of slating corrupt Greek society, yet in the Fatherland until 1999 it was not only legal to bribe foreign government officials, but companies could deduct the payments from their taxes. In the case of bribing employees of foreign companies, this tax break extended until 2002. Read more about Greece:
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- Political headwinds in Greece: Market implications should be contained
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