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What does GERMANY think about europe? Edited by Ulrike Guérot and Jacqueline Hénard ABOUT ECFR The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is the first pan-european think-tank. Launched in October

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What does GERMANY think about europe? Edited by Ulrike Guérot and Jacqueline Hénard ABOUT ECFR The European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) is the first pan-european think-tank. Launched in October 2007, its objective is to conduct research and promote informed debate across Europe on the development of coherent, effective and values-based European foreign policy. ECFR has developed a strategy with three distinctive elements that define its activities: A pan-european Council. ECFR has brought together a distinguished Council of over one hundred Members - politicians, decision makers, thinkers and business people from the EU s member states and candidate countries - which meets once a year as a full body. Through geographical and thematic task forces, members provide ECFR staff with advice and feedback on policy ideas and help with ECFR s activities within their own countries. The Council is chaired by Martti Ahtisaari, Joschka Fischer and Mabel van Oranje. A physical presence in the main EU member states. ECFR, uniquely among European think-tanks, has offices in Berlin, London, Madrid, Paris, Rome and Sofia. In the future ECFR plans to open offices in Warsaw and Brussels. Our offices are platforms for research, debate, advocacy and communications. A distinctive research and policy development process. ECFR has brought together a team of distinguished researchers and practitioners from all over Europe to advance its objectives through innovative projects with a pan-european focus. ECFR s activities include primary research, publication of policy reports, private meetings and public debates, friends of ECFR gatherings in EU capitals and outreach to strategic media outlets. ECFR is backed by the Soros Foundations Network, the Spanish foundation FRIDE (La Fundación para las Relaciones Internacionales y el Diálogo Exterior), the Bulgarian Communitas Foundation, the Italian UniCredit group and the Stiftung Mercator. ECFR works in partnership with other organisations but does not make grants to individuals or institutions. WHAT DOES GERMANY THINK about europe? Edited by Ulrike Guérot and Jacqueline Hénard The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This paper, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors. The European Council on Foreign Relations does not take collective positions. This paper, like all publications of the European Council on Foreign Relations, represents only the views of its authors. Copyright of this publication is held by the European Council on Foreign Relations. You may not copy, reproduce, republish or circulate in any way the content from this publication except for your own personal and non-commercial use. Any other use requires the prior written permission of the European Council on Foreign Relations. ECFR June ISBN: Published by the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR), 35 Old Queen Street, London, SW1H 9JA, United Kingdom Contents Introduction ECONOMICS 1. Michael Wohlgemuth Kant was no stickler for principles 2. Henrik Enderlein More faith in the euro POLITICS 3. Christian Schmidt Is Europe a community of fate? 4. Viola von Cramon Europe s future is sustainable LAW 5. Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz and Christian Hillgruber Should Karlsruhe be the guardian of the Basic Law? 6. Christian Calliess How much of the German constitution can the EU take? MEDIA 7. Cornelia Bolesch A potpourri of clichés 8. Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger Are the tabloids right? SOCIETY 9. Claus Leggewie The young like it green 10. Alexander Cammann Happy Europe AFTERWORD Jürgen Habermas A pact for or against Europe? About the authors Acknowledgements Ulrike Guérot and Jacqueline Hénard Introduction At first glance, What does Germany think about Europe? might seem a strange question. However, it is one that Germany s neighbours are increasingly asking themselves and understandably so. After many years at the heart of the European project, Germany seems to have lost interest in it. The primacy that Europe once assumed in German foreign policy has gone. Berlin now coolly calculates the costs of integration and views its European future with unromantic sobriety. Nobody there still seems to believe in the idea of ever closer union, as it was enshrined in the Treaty of Maastricht. Other European countries view this change of heart in their midst with feelings that range from irritation to concern. What do the Germans want? What do they think about European integration? Is there any vision left? The frustration with Berlin reached a peak in May 2010, when help for Greece was agonisingly slow to materialise. Ever since then, Germany has been acting like the strict economic taskmaster of Europe, attracting unfavourable headlines across the continent in the process. Less than a year after the Greek crisis, Berlin again provoked bemusement and anger by distancing itself politically from its European (and Atlantic) allies during the Libya crisis. More recently still, its abrupt abandonment of nuclear power after the Fukushima disaster upset some of Germany s friends. Meanwhile, Germany s relations with the so-called BRIC states are intensifying. Some Europeans now fear that Berlin sees its future with the BRICs rather than with Brussels. British historian Niall Ferguson recently summed up a widely held sentiment when he wrote that, in the future, people will say it was Germany that killed Europe. 1 1 Niall Ferguson, Murder on the EU Express, Newsweek, 3 April 2011, available at com/2011/04/03/murder-on-the-eu-express.html. 5 What is missing amid the recrimination is understanding. Just as German policymakers have failed to grasp why their behaviour is alienating their European counterparts, Germany s neighbours do not fully understand the shifting dynamics within that country that are underpinning decisions in Berlin. There has been, as a recent ECFR policy brief argued, a dialogue of the deaf. 2 The aim of this anthology is to break out of that dialogue, and to help overcome the current, mutual sense of incomprehension by facilitating a better understanding of Germany from the inside out. It seeks to explain what currently motivates Germany, what it thinks about Europe and why the debate has become so difficult. To do this, we have brought together 11 leading figures from various backgrounds, who attempt to explain the German debate about Europe in five sections: economics, politics, law, media and society. In each case, we wanted to try to bring out the fault lines in the debate, and have therefore selected two contributors with contrasting views. In particular, we have tried to give space both to the new Eurosceptic voices in Germany and to those who defend the EU and argue that Germany has benefited from the single currency. Of course, Germany is not alone in its changing attitudes to Europe. In this era of crisis, the debate over the common project has become more difficult in all European countries, and nationalist sentiments are on the rise everywhere. But the shift in Germany is particularly noteworthy for two reasons. Firstly, because of that nation s size and consequent economic and political weight. What Germany thinks inevitably has huge consequences for Europe. Secondly, the change is remarkable because it represents such a departure from Germany s historical approach to Europe and its own role within it. Until reunification, and well after it, European integration was effectively part of the Federal Republic s raison d état. Germany s interests overlapped with those of Europe and prominent German politicians dreamed of a European federal state. However, in recent years, Germany has increasingly seen itself as normal and, having overcome the burden of history, felt it should be able to talk about its own interests as other countries do. Fundamental changes in its external relations were well underway before the euro crisis began. In foreign policy terms, participation in the 1999 Kosovo 6 2 See Ulrike Guérot and Mark Leonard The New German Question: How Europe can get the Germany it needs, European Council on Foreign Relations, Policy Brief, May 2011, available at GERMANY_AW.pdf war was the first major shift from established positions, and triggered an important debate in Germany that linked responsibility for the past and the future. Germany s NATO partners welcomed its participation in the operation as a signal that Germany was assuming the responsibilities that came with its size and economic power. That normalisation in foreign policy was mirrored in the domestic sphere. After a decade of passionate internal debates on national identity and memory politics following the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany began taking more decisions based on domestic considerations and its global economic interests, rather than subsuming these interests in the common European good. When the financial crisis hit in 2008 therefore, it intensified a recently adopted view of Europe as a source of burdens and obligations. The German public seemed increasingly certain that it was doing everything right limiting debt, pursuing austerity and focusing on exports and it became frustrated by others failure to behave similarly. It apparently occurred to few people that the German government could be part of the problem or that German solutions might not work in other countries. While Germany s European partners waited to be saved by Germany, Germany effectively wanted to be saved from Europe. 3 An opinion poll conducted by the Allensbach Institute in January 2011 found that more than 50 percent of Germans have little to no faith in the EU, and over 70 percent do not see Europe as the future of Germany a finding that almost all the authors in this collection cite. To many in Germany, it is simply now behaving as other countries always have. To its critics, however, Germany has lost its inner compass: it no longer knows whether it should be European or go it alone in global politics. If it listened to outside voices, Germany would hear many complaints that it lacks a strategic vision, that trade policy has become a substitute for foreign policy, and that it behaves like a big Switzerland in the middle of the continent instead of providing leadership. For Europe to get the Germany it needs as it must, at this critical time the two sides in this conversation must stop talking past each other. It is in that spirit that we publish What does Germany think about Europe? We begin the volume with two views of the euro crisis and the economic dimension of the German discourse on Europe. Pride in economic success and a stable currency have been central to German identity ever since the legendary 2 Ibid. 7 currency reform of Against this background, Michael Wohlgemuth speaks for many Germans when he defends Germany s insistence on austerity and its principled approach to financial policy, which he sees as a model for the rest of Europe. Henrik Enderlein, on the other hand, argues that the euro crisis was caused not by a lack of a stability culture but by the flawed architecture of the single currency for which creditor countries such as Germany were as responsible as other indebted member states. The only solution, he says, is to dare to be more European and integrate economic policy. The two contributions by politicians are both by members of the smaller parties that frequently hold key foreign policy positions in Germany. Christian Schmidt, who is currently parliamentary secretary of state in the defence ministry, is a member of the CSU the Bavarian Christian Democrat party that has a reputation for being Eurosceptic. He goes back to the party s origins after the end of the war to defend its attitude to Europe and, like several other authors, insists that Europe needs to develop a better relationship with its citizens. On the other hand, Viola von Cramon, a Green member of parliament, attempts to develop a new narrative for Europe based on the environment, climate change and sustainable economic development. The third section picks up the legal debate following the Constitutional Court s controversial verdict on the Lisbon Treaty in June 2009, which limited further integration and criticised the EU s democratic deficit. Klaus Ferdinand Gärditz and Christian Hillgruber argue in a revised and shortened version of an article published shortly after the verdict that the court had little choice but to reach the verdict it did. Christian Calliess, on the other hand, is more critical of the verdict in particular and of the terms of the legal debate over Europe in general. He laments the as he sees it, almost tragic focus of the Constitutional Court on international law, which tends to play off the principle of democracy against the goal of European integration. 8 Since the outbreak of the Greek crisis, the fourth estate has played an important and problematic role in the debate about Europe. Klaus-Dieter Frankenberger, foreign editor at the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, suggests that the German tabloid press expressed a justified sense of anger and frustration about the Greek crisis in the first half of On the other hand, Cornelia Bolesch, who is both a media specialist and a longtime Brussels correspondent for the centre-left Süddeutsche Zeitung, criticises the way that German newspapers are dominated by stereotypical criticisms of Brussels that create an impression that Europe is effectively a foreign power. Bolesch suggests that a big part of the problem is a lack of communication between Brussels correspondents and editors based in Germany, who tend to have an insufficient understanding of how the EU works. If generational change is also a big part of the shift in attitudes in Germany towards Europe, what do young Germans think? Claus Leggewie, a leading sociologist who belongs to the so-called 1968 generation, argues that young people in Germany don t attack the EU like some members of his own generation do, but also tend to take the EU for granted. In the 1990s, Leggewie wrote about the so-called 1989 generation in other words, the young Germans who were teenagers at the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Alexander Cammann is a member of this generation, but grew up in the GDR, which may explain why he is not quite as disillusioned with Europe as Leggewie suggests the 89ers generally are. However, Cammann also rejects the idea that Europe is in crisis and he therefore does not see the need for further integration. The philosopher Jürgen Habermas who has long been a supporter of further European integration - concludes this collection with an analysis of the dilemma Europe faces following the euro crisis. In this essay, based on a speech he gave in Berlin in April, he argues that the series of measures taken by eurozone governments during the last year to coordinate economic policy risks exacerbating the democratic deficit from which the EU already suffers. The process of European integration, which has always taken place over the heads of the population, has now reached a dead end, he writes. Habermas calls for a new pact to frame a necessary shift towards political union and some sort of fiscal entity. In his conclusion, he reminds us that, in the light of new global challenges, Europe integration is not only a necessity but may also be a minor exercise compared to the task of creating a new system of global governance. This essay collection makes no claim to comprehensiveness. But we hope it will give readers a glimpse of the complex debate in Germany about Europe and offer hints about the domestic pressures that are forcing German foreign policy to evolve. The essays do not suggest that Germany is abandoning Europe for an alternative future with the BRICs in fact, there is not a single mention of China, on which German exporters are increasingly focused. But they do suggest that, 20 years after reunification, Germany is redefining its position in Europe. We hope that, by contributing to a better understanding of debates about Europe in Germany, this collection will help the rest of Europe to help Germany to do so. 9 ECONOMICS Michael Wohlgemuth Kant was no stickler for principles 1 Thinking of Germany in the night Puts all thought of sleep to flight. Heinrich Heine wrote these lines in exile in These days, however, Germans are more likely to lose sleep at night from thinking about Europe than about Germany. The reasons are primarily economic ones. Their fear of inflation and overwhelming debt, rooted in the bitter experience of the 1920s and 30s, is now accompanied by a sense of helplessness: the deutschmark has gone and they have little control over their national budget either. The explicit and implicit pledges of German taxpayers to pay for the debts of other eurozone nations could amount to as much as Germany s own annual budget. This explains why Germans have seldom been as Eurosceptic as they are today. According to a survey published in January 2011, the percentage of Germans who have little to no faith in the European Union has risen from 40 percent in 2002 to 67 percent in The majority of them regret the introduction of the euro. Experts are sceptical too. In one survey, 90 percent of German economics professors reject the euro bailout to which, according to German and European politicians, there is no alternative. Their fear centres on the idea of moral hazard the way it creates perverse incentives for politicians and banks in the eurozone. The bailout should not have been presented as a solution to which there was no alternative. German economists proposed rescue measures that, though they had their own risks and side effects, would have been a more effective treatment for Europe and would have reduced the chance of a future relapse. It must be possible for nations to undergo a regulated insolvency process leading to debt restructuring, for which private and institutional investors (who have earned good money from higher risk premiums) would initially assume liability, before innocent and/or unborn tax payers are burdened with it. On this issue, experts are in line with the public in Germany: innocent bystanders must not be forced to accept responsibility for the mistakes of strangers. More so 13 than in other European countries, there is an underlying suspicion that haggling in Brussels leads to a collective lack of responsibility or a consensus for which others have to pay. Often, it s the Germans whose role as paymaster of Europe is threatening to expand on an unprecedented scale who have to pay. At the same time, former chancellor Helmut Kohl s idea of Europe as a matter of war and peace has less and less traction. Germany s post-war generation thinks pragmatically but also categorically. Like her predecessors, Chancellor Angela Merkel is part of a tradition of more recent German thought and action that centres on terms such as regulatory policy and social market economy. The social market economy and European integration The social market economy can be precisely traced to the conjuncture of monetary reform and price deregulation on 19 June It is thus one year older than the German Basic Law (1949) and nine years older than the Treaty of Rome (1957). It was not until the Treaty of Lisbon that the social market economy was explicitly dignified as a goal of the EU (in Article 3) a legal status it was never accorded in the German constitution. However, it would be premature indeed to interpret this as the triumph of the social market economy in Europe. The past few decades of European integration have been an ambivalent achievement from the perspective of German regulatory policy. If Ludwig Erhard, the father of the social market economy, had had his way, Germany would not have even signed the Treaty of Rome. Erhard was horrified by the thought of a European economic community consisting of just six member
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