Schäuble leaves financial policy
Wolfgang Schäuble, long-standing German finance minister, is to become the speaker of the Bundestag. Although as the watchdog of austerity in the economic crisis he was hated by many Southern Europeans, his experience and principled approach will soon be missed, commentators from Italy and Portugal predict.
Even his foes will miss him
Despite much resentment against his iron-fisted austerity policy, as a key figure in the Eurozone Schäuble's departure will leave a huge gap, Il Sole 24 Ore predicts:
“Above all the countries on the periphery saw him as the symbol of a merciless austerity policy. Nevertheless his personality and experience - in addition to the respect that he commanded in Germany and among his European colleagues - made him the key figure of any and every decision. .... As a convinced European it will certainly pain him to no longer be active in this new phase in the evolution of Europe kicked off by French President Macron. With the creation of an independent budget and the post of finance minister a delicate phase of evolution could begin that was inspired by Schäuble himself.”
At least Schäuble did his best for Europe
Although Schäuble angered many Portuguese during the EU crisis his successor may be even worse, Público warns:
“His tough stance on the economic and human drama in Southern Europe and his Calvinistic way of explaining the crisis with the supposed moral and social inferiority of a lax and negligent Southern Europe made him an ideal target. ... But instead of relief, his departure now provokes a strange fear of the future. ... In comparison with a possible successor from the FDP, Schäuble at least had the advantage of being a pro-European along the lines of Helmut Kohl. And he belonged to a generation that was dedicated to creating a European Germany, not a German Europe.”