The AICGS At Issue Interview Series seeks to provide a platform for discussion with experts from the the business, political, and academic communities regarding the current issues facing the transatlantic relationship.
In their first interview for the AICGS At Issue Interview Series, executive director Jackson Janes and senior fellow Alexander Privitera talk to former German finance minister Peer Steinbrueck. Steinbrueck, who served under Chancellor Angela Merkel from late 2005 until fall 2009, criticizes the crisis management of the European leaders, including his government. Tellingly, he spares Chancellor Angela Merkel and explains her reluctance to act more decisively with the constraints of a fragile government coalition. According to him, with Greece once again rattling the euro zone, we are back to where we were two years ago when the crisis started. The difference is that “now we only have bad options to choose from.” Steinbrueck is not sure a Greek default can be avoided, but admits that it is in the German interest to save the euro, even if it means putting much more German taxpayers’ money on the table. Steinbrueck thinks that the crisis can only be contained with a bigger firewall and the introduction of Eurobonds. He is worried about the impact of the crisis on the transatlantic relationship and blames the U.S. for failing to fully understand what is taking place in Europe.