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.

Benghazi, Kosovo and Auschwitz

Germany's attitude to military intervention in Libya provides a striking contrast to its attitude to military intervention in Kosovo in 1999. The decision to send German Tornados on bombing missions as part of Operation Allied Force - the first time German troops had taken part in major combat missions since World War II - was a momentous one, which was preceded by a tortuous debate about German identity after Auschwitz that centred on perceived parallels between ethnic cleansing in the Balkans and the Holocaust. At times, the debate seemed somewhat narcissistic. But at the end of it, the centre-left "red-green" government of Gerhard Schröder and Joscka Fischer not only supported the military intervention but committed German troops as part of a humanitarian intervention even though it did not have a mandate from the United Nations Security Council.

Twelve years later, the

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Podcasts and the 1968 generation

It always gives me great pleasure to write about podcasts. It gives me even greater pleasure to write about a colleague appearing in an extremely good podcast.

Hans Kundnani sits next to me in what Susi Dennison has called the 'naughty corner' of ECFR's London office. He's the editorial director, and spends much of his time trying to pull together, edit, guide and steer ECFR's publications from idea to hard copy. Hans has also written a book - 'Utopia or Auschwitz: Germany's 1968 generation and the Holocaust' - and it's because of that book that he's just appeared on one of my favourite podcasts.

Hans was interviewed for the latest episode in a cracking podcast series called New Books in History. The presenter, Marshall Poe from the University of Iowa, interviews the author of a different history book each week. One week it might be a book about the Caucasus, then one about the

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Germany in Europe: The doors are closing!

“Please stand clear, the doors are closing!” The tone in Berlin has acquired a new sense of urgency as Germany prepares to take its proposals on eurozone transformation to the summit in Brussels this March. Whether this urgency is a cunning bargaining strategy or simply a symptom of election season folly, the proposals must first make their way through the halls of the Bundestag in Berlin as well as through the German hinterland. Merkel’s ability to reach a compromise with other EU countries depends on developments in both locations.

This Tuesday, Germany’s governing coalition decided to narrow significantly Berlin’s room for maneuver in Brussels. Echoing (still) Bundesbank chief Weber’s comments in the FT on Monday –where he argued that no European rescue funds should be able to buy government bonds of financially weak states, nor should interest rates be reduced for lending to

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Germany in Europe: Of fairytales and fighting

Beautiful snowflakes are covering Berlin while the country prepares for Christmas. There is a fairy-tale atmosphere in the air and – as if politics sought to contribute to that atmosphere – a beautiful, though fictional story did the rounds in yesterday’s newspapers: Angela Merkel, German Chancellor, will replace Herman van Rompuy as the President of the EU next year. From there, enchanted by Europe and convinced by the importance of the EU for Germany, she will unite the European Union, deepen its integration and move it forwards to a political union ready to thoroughly global. Once a tiny, shy and under-estimated ‘maiden’ of former Chancellor Kohl, Merkel will be transformed from the woman who jeopardises the historical legacy of Germany in Europe into the fairy who truly makes Europe united, free, proud and ready for the 21st Century.

But history has not yet decided whether

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Germany in Europe: Germany’s euro learning curve

The German government seems to have been on a pretty good learning curve about what is needed to save the euro now. A ‘too little, too late’ approach during the Greek crisis has developed during the summer and the Irish crisis into a ‘quick and decisive’ strategy (albeit with a too harsh tone).

Since the October Council meeting, Germany and its elites are waking up on both sides: those in this country who always have been against deeper European integration and those in favour of it. The first group – described by former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt  as ‘reactionaries’ and represented by for example former constitutional court judge Paul Kirchhof and former President of the Bundesbank Otmar Issing  – feel this is probably their last chance to avoid the worst, which, in their eyes, is a fully-fledged monetary union with a common fiscal entity and a true economic government. An entity which

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