European Council on Foreign Relations

Go to ECFR's "Germany in Europe" page, where you can find publications, commentary pieces and podcasts abut the role of Germany in Europe.

We need a more honest EU debate in Germany!

The dust has settled after the last European Council and it is time to conclude that while the results were mostly positive – the German reaction to the outcome of the summit was appalling. Judging on the mostly very hostile, not to say aggressive German press, one may come to the conclusion that most Germans would agree with the recent New York Times article arguing for a German euro exit. Browsing not only through the German press over the weekend, but, more importantly, through online reactions of German citizens to various articles, you could get the impression that Germany is heading towards a catastrophe.

Merkel was accused of having crossed multiple red lines of sacrosanct German positions. She not only faced criticism from some of her own party members, but also from Green opposition leader Jürgen Trittin and large parts of the SPD. Both urged her to explain and justify her

Read more…

Hurray, the banking union is coming!

The forthcoming European Council is heading with unprecedented speed towards a banking union and historians may remember this as the turning point of the Euro crisis. The question is what kind of integration and how quickly it can be achieved. Proposals range from hybrid structures to a full integration of European banks and a common European deposit scheme.

As the EU Commission memo on banking union states: “The European banking union is not a new legal instrument yet. It is a political vision for more EU integration, which will build on recent major steps to strengthen the regulation of the banking sector and go further.”

The next EU summit could be a moment where political dreams come true, e.g. one of a European treasury with a Finance Minister, overseeing European banking policy, as advocated by former ECB President Jean-Claude Trichet last year, when he was awarded the

Read more…

Do we go that far to save Europe?

Yes, we do! Germany is putting forward bold plans for a political union. This interim report is the result of a working group of ten like-minded foreign ministers – among them the foreign ministers of France, Spain, Italy, Poland, Austria, Portugal, and the Netherlands – who met a couple of times in recent months. This is interesting in various aspects: first, the initiative gives ownership back to smaller euro countries: Merkozy is over!  Second, Germany is back as the essential agenda setter for the future of the EU and it is opening up the discussion beyond euro rescue umbrellas. The presented plans for more European integration are not only far reaching regarding the Euro (the report includes proposals for a European Monetary Fund (EMF) or a European Treasury) but also touch on sensitive things such as a European Army. It is only a discussion paper, of course, but one of an

Read more…

Making austerity less destructive: Don’t count on the German left

While everyone looks for signals from the French president François Hollande and from the German chancellor Angela Merkel about how a compromise on the fiscal compact might look like, another important negotiation on the future of Europe is largely ignored: The negotiation between Ms Merkel and the German opposition on the fiscal compact.

Little known outside Germany, Ms Merkel will need the votes of the German opposition to ratify the fiscal compact. As the provisions are “a substantial transfer of sovereignty” to the European level, according to the German constitution, Ms Merkel needs a two-third majority in both the Bundestag and the Bundesrat (the chamber which represents the Länder). This brings not only the Social Democrats into play, but also the Green party (which shares power in many Länder with the Social Democrats and is thus needed as Länder governments) the

Read more…

Berlin (and New York) view: Sarrazin in America

I don’t know whether the controversial German political writer Thilo Sarrazin plans to roll out his new book “Deutschland braucht den euro nicht” ('Germany doesn't the euro') in the United States, especially in New York, but he would probably not find anybody in the whole investment banker crowd this town has to offer who would understand him. If there is one - just one - argument here, it is that Germany has so visibly, so obviously and so largely benefitted from the euro. Investment bankers are shaking their heads about one question that drives them: “Why doesn't Merkel get it?” This is the new German question. What they mean by that is that the euro needs some sort of fiscal federalism, Eurobonds, a treasury and the ECB as lender of last resort. Everybody recognises this. So what is Merkel waiting for?

Germany, after the benefits of the euro, now also benefits from the crisis:

Read more…

Page 6 of 16 pages ‹ First  < 4 5 6 7 8 >  Last ›

Latest Publications

A return to Africa: Why North African states are looking south

North African countries, each for their own reasons, are increasingly turning their attention towards sub-Saharan Africa.

Together in trauma: Europeans and the world after covid-19

A new survey shows that, after the onset of the covid-19 crisis, there has been a rise in public support for unified EU action to tackle global threats

Reform from crisis: How Tunisia can use covid-19 as an opportunity

The government must build on its response to the pandemic to create a compromise that shares the burden of reform between political actors and interest groups


Europe’s pandemic politics: How the virus has changed the public’s worldview

New research reveals that the crisis has revolutionised citizens’ perceptions of global order – scrambling the distinctions between nationalism and globalism

Reviving the revolutionaries: How Trump’s maximum pressure is shifting Iran’s domestic politics

Europeans wish to persuade Iran to compromise on strategic issues – but, unless they understand the dynamics of domestic Iranian politics, they will not get far