More than ever, Germany is today the focus of much attention on the European scene. The difficult negotiation over the assistance package to Greece and the setting up of a stabilisation fund has earned Chancellor Merkel bad press. Germany
has been castigated and blamed for a lack of vision for its reluctance to help its Eurozone partners who are also among its main clients. However, much of this criticism could be turned on its head. As Tommaso Padoa-Schioppa, President of Notre Europe, has recalled in a recent paper, no European country has ever consented to as big a transfer of sovereignty as Germany did when it accepted to do away with the Deutsche Mark. That, in and of itself, is sufficient to explain why she has found it difficult to tolerate the unruly behaviour of other Eurozone members. Moreover, it required great courage on the part of Mrs. Merkel to eventually accept the rescue package against a majority of German public opinion and the advice of some of her most prominent advisers. Nonetheless, the fact remains that Germany now finds itself in a leadership
position that it has not sought, and that it seems at times reluctant to exert. This is why it seems appropriate to discuss some of the factors that shape its European policy. To this end, Notre Europe has turned to a series of experts who examine the changes that have taken place at various levels. Can Germany really be considered more inward-looking than it used to be before? Is this a long-term trend? How can the evolution of German European policy be explained? What are the current driving actors and forces?
Contributions have been made by German (or Greek-German) experts and are completed by a British external point of view.
• Janis A. Emmanouilidis (EPC) and Almut Möller (DGAP) start by scrutinising Germany’s perception of EU’s integration and what they consider as a process of German European policy normalisation.
• Daniela Schwarzer (SWP) examines expectations from Germany’s specific relation to the Eurozone.
• Henrik Uterwedde (Franco-German Institut of Ludwigsburg) evaluates the specificity of Germany’s cooperative capitalism model and its constraints regarding EU’s futher integration.
• Stefan Seidendorf (Franco-German Institut of Ludwigsburg) looks over opinion polls to examine the evolution of German elites and the assertion of a more popular public opinion, regarding the EU.
• Timo Behr (Finnish Institute of International Affairs) explores the state of mind of German’s government when faced with the requirement of playing an active role in a more integrated European foreign policy.
• Finally, William E. Paterson (Aston Centre for Europe, Aston University) analyses the pressures on German European vocation and the risks of amore British European policy temptation.
See the complete paper : Etud-79- Germany
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