Should Germany Bail Out Greece?

Ernst Weizsäcker is co-chair of the U.N.’s International Panel for Sustainable Resource Management. He has served as the policy director at the United Nations Centre for Science and Technology for Development, director of the Institute for European Environmental Policy, and president of the Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment, and Energy. He is a member of the Club of Rome, a global think tank devoted to improving society, and he served on the World Commission on the Social Dimensions of Globalization.

He has also served as a member of the Bundestag, the federal parliament of Germany, where he was appointed chairman of the Environmental Committee. Additionally, he has taught as a professor of interdisciplinary biology and was the founding president of the University of Kassel in Germany. Weizsäcker has authored several influential books on the environment, most recently, "Factor Five: Transforming the Global Economy through 80% Improvements in Resource Productivity."
  • Transcript


Question: Should Germany bail Greece out? 

Ernst Weizsäcker: In some way by deciding 10 years ago on the introduction of the common currency, the Euro, Germany has made a commitment of bailing out, be it indirectly through the International Monetary Fund, or more directly through the European Bank.  But, I once calculated the amount of the Greek deficit compared with the Gross National Product of Europe, and this is less than 1/2 percent.  So, I would call it alarmist to say this 1/2 percent of the European, of the Euro’s own GDP lets the Euro collapse.  This is absurd.  If you compare that with financial risks incurred by the American state in certain war adventures or in the financial crisis, or wherever, those are much higher percentages leading indeed to a weak dollar, that’s correct, but the European industry is only happy if the overvaluing of the Euro finally finds an end.  So, I am not in a state of alarm.

Recorded on April 9, 2010