Publications

Europe: Germany's dilemma

9 December 2011
Josef Janning (Head of ECFR Berlin Office and Senior Policy Fellow)


Throughout the debt crisis, Germany's European policy has been of critical importance. As the largest economy in the EU, the country must take on major financial commitments to protect the stability of the euro and maintain the integrity of the euro zone. Berlin has been the most articulate advocate of stricter conditionality and a revision of EMU deficit procedures in return for added guarantees and loans. Chancellor Angela Merkel has provoked criticism among European partners and publics for her tough stance, while German public opinion seems to increasingly blame her for giving too much.

In this policy brief Josef Janning, analyses the German approach to European integration and reviews its changes since the days of German reunification. He concludes that Germany should not rely on its ability to secure preferred outcomes by pushing its weight around. Rather, Berlin should first and foremost seek to use its current power to deepen fiscal integration in a way that commits all participating member states, Germany included, in an equal manner.

Europe: Germany's dilemma