Why Germany is not becoming Europe’s hegemon

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Series Details No.126, April 2012
Publication Date 16/04/2012
ISSN 1989-2667
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Berlin’s central role in the EU’s response to the euro crisis is widely seen to represent a sea change: an assertive Germany has become Europe’s leading power. Former French economy minister Thierry Breton insists that Franco German leadership is now dead and ‘Berlin is alone in the cockpit’.

Financial Times columnist Philip Stephens writes that ‘the continent’s agenda is now set in Berlin’. There is much talk of German hegemony in Europe. Some even mutter about an emerging ‘Fourth Reich’. Federalist-leaning analysts insist the only solution to the EU’s woes is for Germany to move the continent forward to a significantly closer union. Not so fast. The view that Germany is becoming a hegemonic power in Europe, ready to translate its economic power into actual European preeminence, is tempting.

But a closer look at German political mentality and strategy belies the idea that the country has the will or capability to lead in Europe. Despite taking centre stage in the euro crisis, it is far from becoming Europe’s hegemon. Even Germany’s leadership of the eurozone economy is fragile and limited.

More broadly, Germany has only very modest foreign policy ambitions, rendering it unfit to lead Europe on foreign policy and security. Germany’s new influence in Europe is highly specific to the resolution of the euro crisis. It does not reflect a more general rise in German power in Europe.

Source Link http://www.fride.org/publicacion/1012/por-que-alemania-no-se-convertira-en-la-potencia-hegemonica-de-europa
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