Whenever Germany thrived, so did the rest of Europe. But that long-held belief is being questioned by its neighbors, which see evidence that the country is taking off without them.
Despite Berlin’s hefty financial support of the euro zone’s more beleaguered members in the last few years, the economic crisis has corroded commercial ties between Germany and the rest of Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain no longer have the purchasing power they once did, and they trade less with Germany because of it.
Greece, the most distressed country in Europe, is now little more than a German rounding error. German exports to Greece plunged 40 percent from 2008, while Germany imported 9 percent less from Greece. Last year, Greece ranked 44th among German trading partners, just behind Vietnam.
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