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A generation ago, West Germans were great champions of unity because it gave them a respectability — the ability to say “We are Europeans” — that had been squandered.

But now it is primarily Germany that is blocking the idea of the eurozone pooling resources to issue joint debt — “Eurobonds” — which would deepen European integration while easing the crisis.

Germans opposed to more help for Greece are quick to note that Athens fudged its budget figures, playing on stereotypes of Mediterranean dishonesty.