No country in Europe is in a better position than Germany when it comes to funding domestic economic recovery. But in Brussels, Rome and Madrid, politicians see that as a potential problem: They’re worried that less economically stable countries might be left behind by the coronavirus pandemic, and that Germany and other countries with strong economies will widen the gap between themselves and the rest of the EU.
That a country has enough money to spend its way out of a crisis would seem to be good news. Elsewhere in Europe, though, policymakers are watching with mixed feelings as Germany spends hefty sums to support domestic companies and workers through the lockdown. And now, as result, the European Commission is blocking Germany from making its own decisions about state aid.
Historians may well tell us that epidemics in the past have tended to reduce financial inequality within societies, but the European Commission expects the opposite to be true in Europe.