Germany Needs To Decide What the EU Is For

More

In a new column I respond to Gideon Rachman's interesting article in the FT, Germany faces a machine from hell, which I think takes a too-sympathetic view of recent German policy. I argue that Germany needs to remember its ambitions for the European Union and why it embarked on this venture in the first place.

For the past several decades Germany's aim for Europe has been to create a wider and deeper union. In this way it sought to advance its economic and national-security interests, to bind itself to ever closer co- operation with its neighbors, and to atone for its history. Today, the system that it designed is in danger of coming apart, and newspapers in Italy and Greece carry digitally altered pictures of Angela Merkel in Nazi uniform.

Gideon Rachman writes in the Financial Times: "Across southern Europe, the 'ugly German' is back -- accused of driving other nations into penury, deposing governments and generally barking orders at all and sundry." The European Union was intended to bury that caricature once and for all. Instead it has brought the ugly German back to life.

Rachman sympathizes with Berlin: The attacks on Germany are deeply unfair, he says. Germans have done plenty for southern Europe and are reluctant -- quite rightly -- to do more. True, he admits, Germany co-designed the euro monetary system, which turned out to be flawed. But what's done is done. Right now the Germans are doing all they reasonably can.

The Nazi caricatures and other anti-German slurs are disgusting and unforgivable. But Germany's leaders are much more deeply implicated in the causes and mismanagement of the European crisis than Rachman allows. I don't think it's unfair to say the plight of the European project is largely Germany's fault.

Read on.

Jump to comments
Presented by

Clive Crook is a senior editor of The Atlantic and a columnist for Bloomberg View. He was the Washington columnist for the Financial Times, and before that worked at The Economist for more than 20 years, including 11 years as deputy editor. Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics. More

Crook writes about the intersection of politics and economics.

Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

When Will Robots Take Over the World?

"In a sense, we're already becoming cyborgs."


Elsewhere on the web

Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

Is Wine Healthy?

James Hamblin prepares to impress his date with knowledge about the health benefits of wine.

Video

The World's Largest Balloon Festival

Nine days, more than 700 balloons, and a whole lot of hot air

Video

The Origins of Bungee Jumping

"We had this old potato sack and I filled it up with rocks and dropped it over the side. It just hit the water, split, dropping all the stones. And that was our test."

Video

Is Trading Stocks for Suckers?

If you think you’re smarter than the stock market, you’re probably either cheating or wrong

Video

I Spent Half My Life Making a Video Game

How a childhood hobby became a labor of love

Writers

Up
Down

More in Global

Just In