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.

Germany, the superpower which does not want to rule

We’re all in Brussels for the annual Council Meeting, and we’ve just had a session looking at how we should all deal with Germany’s resurgence. It’s something we’re all looking at here at ECFR, but, from Madrid via Brussels, here are my thoughts…

Do we love Germany? Or do we just fear her? We need Germany to lead; we want them to lead. But we also want to tell them where to go and what to do. This is not the way hegemony works, so there is a fundamental contradiction in what we expect from Germany.

We are not grasping the fundamental chance in Germany. Germany is the hegemon, but only by default - they never wanted the role when they first inherited it, and they do not want it now either. They just want everybody to go by the rules, as they do, rather than being asked time and again to provide the public good so the others can free ride on it.

So, even if one can be

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