To save the euro – but not have to soak German taxpayers in the process. It may not look like it, since Germany has blocked moves to mutualize debt across Europe by issuing eurobonds, and is driving down incomes in some of its biggest export markets.
But Germany has nothing to gain – and everything to lose – if the euro crumbles. Olaf Cramme at the Policy Network think-tank says that Merkel has been trying to use the markets to impose budgetary discipline on what Germans see as profligate neighbors. Merkel's move to centralize budgetary powers in the EU would change this, meaning that core eurozone countries would be given powers of oversight over other countries' budgets -- something that's traditionally been seen as a sovereign right. She also wants to see shaky economies reduce public spending through "structural reform" in the form of shrinking the public sector, privitization, and deregulation.