A Euro-Christmas Carol

Poor old Merkel, everyone thought her a Scrooge for not coughing up the cash. But on the night of Christmas Eve, she was about to have a strange visitation

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Bah Humbug: will Merkel continue to play Scrooge?
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Simon Miller
On 16 December 2011 11:50

Merkel shuffled through the snow; concerns about the eurozone etched on her face.

As she entered the office, a cry of ‘Merry Christmas’ came from her southern European cousin.

‘Bah humbug,’ said Merkel.

'Christmas a humbug, Merkel!' said Italy. 'You don't mean that, I am sure?'

'I do,' said Merkel. 'Merry Christmas! What right have you to be merry? What reason have you to be merry? You're poor enough.'

'Come, then,' returned Italy gaily. 'What right have you to be dismal? What reason have you to be morose? You're rich enough.'

'What else can I be,' returned the Chancellor, 'when I live in such a world of fools as this? Merry Christmas! Out upon merry Christmas. What's Christmas time to you but a time for paying bills without money; a time for finding yourself a year older, but not an hour richer; a time for balancing your books and having every item in them through a round dozen of months presented dead against you?’

Later on, when Merkel went up to bed, dressing gown and hat on to fight against the bitter wind that poured through the streets of Berlin, she heard a clinking of chains, and a low groan as a translucent figure appeared before her, weighed down in treaties, and documents, of broken dreams and promises.

'Who are you?' she said.

'Ask me who I was.'

'Who were you then?' said Merkel raising her voice. 'You're particular, for a shade.' She was going to say 'to a shade,' but substituted this, as more appropriate.

'In life I was meant to be your partner, fiscal union.'

'You will be haunted,' resumed the Ghost of fiscal union, 'by Three Spirits. The first will arrive when the bell tolls one. And then the next night, the same hour, and then the third.”

The following night, tucked up in bed, the clock struck one and a small girl appeared wearing a summer dress.

‘I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.’

‘What would you have with me’ asked Merkel.

‘Come.’

Holding the Ghost’s hand, Merkel found herself at a party. Everyone was dancing and singing. Ah yes, the union, East and West together again. An unusual smile appeared to crack into her stern visage as she remembered the happy times. But wasn’t there something else, something that upset her?

Ah yes, there in the corner, the Frenchman smiling at her, promising a world where every European would be united.

‘Take me back Ghost,” she whispered. ‘Take me back.’

---

The following night, Merkel shivered at the thought of what apparition would befall her that night.

At one, a large breeze and a jolly, fat man supping from a glass of wine.

‘What ho, Merkel, I am the Ghost of Christmas Present, come hither.’

They flew over the land, lights glimmering in windows, the sound of laughter.

Peering through one window, Merkel saw David, Boris, Douglas and Dan clicking their glasses – although Nick was sulking in the corner.

‘You shouldn’t be so mean about Merkel,’ said Nick.

‘No, you’re right,’ said David raising an eyebrow. ‘Merry Christmas Merkel.’

‘Merry Christmas Merkel,’ replied the rest laughing.

The Ghost then took Merkel to another abode. Its panes cracked, tatty curtains flapping.

‘Although we may not have much,’ said Italy, ‘we have each other. So Tiny Nic, what shall we say?’

A little man limped up to the scantily-laid dinner table, lifted his chin and cried ‘God bless us, everyone.’

Merkel whispered to the Ghost ‘What’s wrong with him?’

The Ghost sighed, ‘He has a problem with his banking arm. He struggles with it and the fear of losing it or his rating leads him to despair and intemperate language. Tiny Nic may not have long for this world.’

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