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Friday, 27th September 2013

The German Election: What Europe Expects - and What Germany Will Not Do

Source: European Council on Foreign Relations


Europeans expect a lot from Germany. Fed up with Germany’s euro crisis management, which seems capable only of tackling the most immediate emergencies, they want a vision for Europe that goes beyond Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “step-by-step” approach. But the Germany that many in Europe hope for is not on offer. There is a gap between European expectations and Germany’s capacity to meet those expectations. Whoever is in charge after 22 September, Germany is likely to continue with the same pragmatic approach to the crisis that it has taken so far. Above all, Germany does not have the same need to push for more integration as its European neighbours.

Germany is limited by specific constraints, many of which are overlooked by the outside world. The German domestic debate is increasingly focused on income disparities and growing poverty at home, especially for retired people. Berlin simply lacks the political ambition to provide clear leadership in turbulent times. Germany may be central to European politics but it sees itself as a role model rather than as a power with an obligation to lead. It hopes to influence events by force of example and by getting others to transpose the German model of competitiveness abroad into their own economic and political cultures.

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Having begun his career in academic libraries, Adrian Janes has subsequently worked extensively in public libraries, chiefly in enquiry work as an Information Services librarian. In this role he has had particular responsibility for information from both the UK Government and the European Union. He wrote a detailed report on sources for the latter which was published by FreePint in 2007, and has contributed articles to FreePint and ResourceShelf. He is involved in training in information literacy and the use of online reference resources.

A Contributing Editor to DocuTicker, he also write reviews for Pennyblackmusic.

More articles by Adrian Janes »

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