Blog Post

You say Rettung, I say imposición

A summary of the Spanish and German perspectives on the #Spailout. 

By: and Date: July 27, 2012 Topic: Macroeconomic policy

“Germany saves Spain’s banks” reads the headline of a Welt article published on the July 20. When the bailout was announced 10 days before, El País offered a slightly different view when it wrote that eurozone countries “impose an intervention on the Spanish economy”. As the German parliament agreed to the bailout, the Spanish newspaper fears that “the country will carry the burden of a 100,000 million Euros bill for more than a decade”. 

But at least, public opinion in both countries agree on one thing: while 70% of respondents in an El País poll stated that a rescue package was “bad or very bad” for Spain’s future, 52% of the Germans polled by Infratest-dimap for the morning show ARD Morgenmagazin disagreed with the Spanish bailout.

The blame for the difficulties the countries are facing is seldom found at home. As Germany received the first minor blow to its safe haven status in the form of a negative sovereign rating outlook by Moody’s, Bild asks: “Is Europe pulling Germany into the abyss”?. Meanwhile, in an interview with El País, former Spanish Prime Minister Felipe González argued that the bailout is the result of failed policies on the European level. That is, did Europe pull Spain into the abyss? According to him, there is a “shared responsibility” for a monetary policy that facilitated the previous boom.

As for the solutions, Die Welt argues that Germany is already exhausting the political limits of its support for Europe. The broad parliamentary majority for the Spanish bailout stands in stark contrast to German public opinion. With the elections approaching, the uncomplicated oppositional support currently enjoyed by Merkel could come to an end. Spain, turn, also sees its domestic political limits.

A commentary in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) criticizes Rajoy for hesitating for too long to fight the country’s banking problems. It condemns Rajoy’s teaming up with Monti to press for the bailout while avoiding the typical conditionality attached to European assistance. In turn, El Economista is also sceptical about Rajoy’s bailout plan and asks whether the message launched by the Monti-Rajoy alliance might have been the wrong one. “Did anyone in Rome or Madrid really believe that a direct capitalization of the banks and the massive buying of national debt from the ECB will solve our structural problems?”

An editorial in El País offers a more positive verdict on the rescue package, stating that “Europe can believe again”. “The move [of passing the bailout] is doubly Europeanist. First, Spain gets the necessary resources to recapitalize its finance system.  But at the same time, Europe rescues itself showing a clear support for the euro. (…) Without yesterday’s brave decision, Spanish banks and the country itself would have gone bankrupt, but moreover, the single currency would have been condemned to disappear.”

Republishing and referencing

Bruegel considers itself a public good and takes no institutional standpoint. Anyone is free to republish and/or quote this post without prior consent. Please provide a full reference, clearly stating Bruegel and the relevant author as the source, and include a prominent hyperlink to the original post.

Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event


How can we support and restructure firms hit by the COVID-19 crisis?

What are the vulnerabilities and risks in the enterprise sector and how prepared are countries to handle a large-scale restructuring of businesses?

Speakers: Ceyla Pazarbasioglu and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Macroeconomic policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event More on this topic

Upcoming Event

May - Jun


Final conference of the MICROPROD project

Speakers: Carlo Altomonte, Eric Bartelsman, Marta Bisztray, Italo Colantone, Maria Demertzis, Filippo di Mauro, Wolfhard Kaus, Steffen Müller, Gianluca Santoni, Verena Plümpe, Andrea Roventini, Valerie Smeets, Nicola Viegi, Markus Zimmermann and Javier Miranda Topic: Macroeconomic policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels
Read about event

Past Event

Past Event

[Cancelled] Shifting taxes in order to achieve green goals

[This event is cancelled until further notice] How could shifting the tax burden from labour to pollution and resources help the EU reach its climate goals?

Speakers: Niclas Poitiers and Femke Groothuis Topic: Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 12, 2022
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

How are crises changing central bank doctrines?

How is monetary policy evolving in the face of recent crises? With central banks taking on new roles, how accountable are they to democratic institutions?

Speakers: Maria Demertzis, Benoît Coeuré, Pervenche Berès, Hans-Helmut Kotz and Athanasios Orphanides Topic: Macroeconomic policy Location: Bruegel, Rue de la Charité 33, 1210 Brussels Date: May 11, 2022
Read article Download PDF More by this author

Book/Special report

European governanceInclusive growth

Bruegel annual report 2021

The Bruegel annual report provides a broad overview of the organisation's work in the previous year.

By: Bruegel Topic: Banking and capital markets, Digital economy and innovation, European governance, Global economy and trade, Green economy, Inclusive growth, Macroeconomic policy Date: May 6, 2022
Read article Download PDF

Policy Contribution

European governance

Fiscal support and monetary vigilance: economic policy implications of the Russia-Ukraine war for the European Union

Policymakers must think coherently about the joint implications of their actions, from sanctions on Russia to subsidies and transfers to their own citizens, and avoid taking measures that contradict each other. This is what we try to do in this Policy Contribution, focusing on the macroeconomic aspects of relevance for Europe.

By: Olivier Blanchard and Jean Pisani-Ferry Topic: European governance, Macroeconomic policy Date: April 29, 2022
Read article Download PDF More on this topic

Working Paper

The low productivity of European firms: how can policies enhance the allocation of resources?

A summary of the most important policy lessons from research undertaken in the MICROPROD project work package 4, related to the allocation of the factors of production, with a special focus on the weak dynamism of European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

By: Grégory Claeys, Marie Le Mouel and Giovanni Sgaravatti Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 25, 2022
Read article More on this topic

External Publication

What drives implementation of the European Union’s policy recommendations to its member countries?

Article published in the Journal of Economic Policy Reform.

By: Konstantinos Efstathiou and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 13, 2022
Read article Download PDF More on this topic More by this author

Working Paper

Measuring the intangible economy to address policy challenges

The purpose of the first work package of the MICROPROD project was to improve the firm-level data infrastructure, expand the measurement of intangible assets and enable cross-country analyses of these productivity trends.

By: Marie Le Mouel Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: April 11, 2022
Read about event More on this topic

Past Event

Past Event

Macroeconomic and financial stability in changing times: conversation with Andrew Bailey

Guntram Wolff will be joined in conversation by Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England.

Speakers: Andrew Bailey and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: March 28, 2022
Read article


European governance

How to reconcile increased green public investment needs with fiscal consolidation

The EU’s ambitious emissions reduction targets will require a major increase in green investments. This column considers options for increasing public green investment when major consolidations are needed after the fiscal support provided during the pandemic. The authors make the case for a green golden rule allowing green investment to be funded by deficits that would not count in the fiscal rules. Concerns about ‘greenwashing’ could be addressed through a narrow definition of green investments and strong institutional scrutiny, while countries with debt sustainability concerns could initially rely only on NGEU for their green investment.

By: Zsolt Darvas and Guntram B. Wolff Topic: European governance, Green economy, Macroeconomic policy Date: March 8, 2022
Read article More on this topic More by this author


The week inflation became entrenched

The events that have unfolded since 24 February have solved one dispute: inflation is no longer temporary.

By: Maria Demertzis Topic: Macroeconomic policy Date: March 8, 2022
Load more posts