“‘The debates over corona bonds remain fierce, with some countries pushing for these grants (instead of loans) and others, like Germany, strongly opposing the idea,’ Julie Smith, senior adviser to the president of the German Marshall Fund and director of their Asia program, told me.

“Smith spent 2018 in Germany focused on German foreign policy and relations with Asia.

“‘Either way, if Germany folds and gives in or if it holds steady and refuses, anti-EU sentiment will likely rise. If German Chancellor Angela Merkel has to ask German taxpayers to bail out a collapsing Italian economy, the far-right will gain ground in Germany. If she refuses, anti-EU parties will surge in Italy as Italians conclude that EU membership counts for nothing. Can the EU come up with a fix that keeps everyone happy? Perhaps, but it’s a tall order…'”

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