Can Germany Save Europe at Summit?

Sarkozy & MerkelGreece is near bankruptcy, Italy careens toward fiscal catastrophe and
the heralded currency union called the eurozone looks increasingly
fragile. One country more than any other — Germany — is being called on
to save it.

But will it?

European
leaders gather in Brussels today and Friday to come up with a long-term
solution to an alarming debt crisis that could evenutally destroy the
euro currency and could even take down the European Union.

Hanging
over their heads is a warning from Standard & Poor’s Ratings
Services that most of the nations that use the euro — including stable
Germany and France — face a 50-50 chance of a credit downgrade if the
situation does not improve. A downgrade would increase borrowing costs
for the countries, further hampering the EU economy.

The
nations of the eurozone, the 17 countries that use the euro as
currency, have been pleading with Germany to use its financial strength
to assume more responsibility for the crisis.

“There’s
an expectation that (the Germans) are leading the way, that they have
to do it,” said Almut Möller, a political analyst for the German Council
on Foreign Relations. “Who else if not the Germans?”

But
Germany is not keen on some of the solutions, and for the first time in
decades is resisting European opinion and raising old fears about
whether it seeks to work with Europe or dominate it.

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Source: Sumi Somaskanda, Special for USA TODAY