Handelsblatt auf Englisch
Thriving, not just surviving

The euro zone could actually be stronger without Greece in it. That’s increasingly the view from Germany’s policymakers and economists as they take a tough stance with Greece's left-wing government.
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It’s perhaps the most baffling of all the developments these past few weeks on Greece. While headlines of economic doom and gloom have dotted the global media landscape as the Mediterranean country flirts with becoming the first nation to leave the euro, financial markets have barely batted an eyelid.

It could mean that the euro zone would not only survive but thrive without Greece.

The value of the euro against the dollar has held steady this week at around €1.10, even as many market analysts became increasingly convinced following Sunday's referendum that “Grexit” is the most likely scenario facing Europe. Borrowing costs for other weaker European countries like Italy and Spain have risen slightly but remain low. Most economists also expect the euro zone’s economy to continue growing, even as Greece plunges further into the abyss.

It’s a far cry from 2012, when the possibility of Greece leaving the euro infected the economies of its European neighbors like a virus that could only be stopped at its core – by bailing out Greece and keeping it inside the common currency.

The fact that market sentiment is different this time around plays very much into the hands of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other Berlin politicians, many of whom are determined to play hard-ball with Greece and refuse to grant the country a third financial bailout unless it commits to the kind of tough structural reforms and austerity that its current left-wing government rejects.

The euro, many here in Germany argue, could actually emerge stronger from the crisis if it finally allows Greece to quit the 16-year-old currency bloc altogether.

“Over the long-term, the euro should profit from a determined stance by its institutions,” Ulrich Leuchtmann, senior economist with Commerzbank, Germany’s second-largest bank, told Handelsblatt this week.

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  • It is long overdue for the Greeks themselves to "reform" and come clean. No more corruption, no more tax evasion, no more Social Security fraud, no more 'jobs for the boys'. If you throw good money (bailout) after bad money, the blackmail (from the Greeks) will continue!

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