Schäuble: I'm not that pessimistic in this regard. Although the Irish have accumulated huge debts to bail out their banks, they are making good progress in cleaning up their economy. And I also have great respect for the Greek government's resolve. A few months ago, hardly anyone would have believed that the Greeks would manage to implement such a drastic austerity program. They're moving in the right direction now.and
SPIEGEL: Conditions in Europe are not as orderly as you describe. Just two weeks ago, the European Council (the EU body in Brussels that includes the heads of state and government of the membber states) decided to introduce a new crisis mechanism for over-indebted euro nations. Are you satisfied with the result?
Schäuble: The Council's decisions are a great success. Only a few weeks ago, many predicted that France would never support Germany in its commitment to a European crisis mechanism. And that the French would be willing to change the European treaties to do so was seen as completely out of the question. But then Chancellor (Angela) Merkel and President (Nicolas) Sarkozy met in Deauville and achieved a historic breakthrough on both issues. It's completely in line with the approach we Germans have always supported.Ballsy, alright. Can't imagine our fawning media (or, for that matter, the American press) doing this.
SPIEGEL: You can't possibly believe what you're saying. Until recently, Germany was demanding automatic penalties for countries that violated the debt rules of the euro zone. That demand is now off the table.