The New Germany: Abandoning Europe?
Since the outbreak of the Euro-crisis, Germany has come under fire for not doing enough to solve the problems of the continent and abandoning its long-held European vocation. Variably, it has been accused of riding roughshod over the sovereign concerns of other countries and for failing to exercise sufficient leadership. German recipes for solving the euro crisis have been demonized for their single-minded and possibly destructive focus on austerity measures and for selfishly exploiting the weakness of their neighbours. German chancellor Angela Merkel, for her part, has become the bête noire of the European tabloid press – which has branded her Germany’s most dangerous leader since Hitler – and has seen her image burned in effigy on the streets of Athens. In a much quoted newspaper article in 2011, British pundit Niall Fergusson summed up the European mood by arguing that future generations would blame Germany for having murdered Europe.
All of this stands in stunning contrast to Germany’s popular image and position in Europe over the past fifty years. For decades, German politicians have displayed an unquestioning commitment to European integration, have refrained from claiming a greater voice commensurate with Germany’s size in Europe, and have obediently underwritten the costs of European Integration. The contrast is stark. What has changed? Have Germans abandoned their European vocation after having achieved their reunification? Are German businesses deserting the Eurozone in the search for higher profits in the emerging economies? Have Germany’s political institutions and legal system become an obstacle to further integration and firm political action? To come to a better understanding of Germany’s changing role in Europe, this essay will briefly review the evidence.
- Integration Fatigue
- Constitutional Limits
- Going Gobal Alone
- Breakdown of the German Motor?