The map of Europe is featured on the face of a two Euro coin seen in this photo illustration taken in Rome, Italy, in this December 3, 2011 file photo. REUTERS/Tony Gentile
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The eurozone crisis is back – at least in the minds of many Germans. Since last summer, the influx of hundreds of thousands of refugees from the war-torn Middle East has overshadowed all else, dominating the political debate in Berlin and the front pages of German newspapers. One month ago, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), a right-wing populist party that had railed against Chancellor Angela Merkel's open-door refugee policies, surged into three state parliaments, stunning the established parties and forcing them into a strategic rethink.This week the normally reserved German head of the eurozone's rescue fund, Klaus Regling, complained that Greek reform implementation was the worst in all of Europe.Although still strong at home, Merkel has emerged weakened in Europe from the refugee crisis.At a time when the eurozone is putting pressure on Greece to save on pensions, Merkel's coalition is considering reforms that would funnel more money to the elderly – another measure, it seems, which is designed to thwart the rise of the AfD.
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