Judy Asks: Can Germany provide leadership to Europe?

Opinion piece (Carnegie Europe)
Christian Odendahl
30 September 2021

Yes, it can. The last decade of crises has left Europe with a long to-do list, and two major issues have started to overshadow the German policy debate: climate change and the new - for Berlin, anyway - geopolitical challenges.

That will also shape the next government’s views: the fact that the economic strength of Europe and its unity is a lot more important than low levels of public debt; that fighting climate change in Europe may involve transfers to poorer countries and public support of innovation and investment to reach net zero; and that becoming a robust actor in foreign policy occasionally entails a short-term economic cost for a longer-term strategic benefit that is worth it.

Angela Merkel and Olaf Scholz have already started on that journey toward German leadership in Europe, by putting together the EU recovery fund during the pandemic.

The involvement of the Greens and the Free Democratic Party in government is more likely than not to push Germany further ahead. But Berlin’s leadership role in Europe also involves forging compromise and uniting Europe. It will be a tough balancing act for Berlin to push Europe ahead while keeping it united.

Read full article here.