3.6 Germany – The republic of rhetoric

3.6 Germany – The republic of rhetoric

Ladies and gentlemen, politics means, and that should be assumed, that is – without talking about it – considering the situation, in which we find ourselves. I can sum up the points of view of my political opinion in just a few words: First of all, the self-conception under the assumption, secondly and that is what we owe our constituents, thirdly, the concentrated inclusion as centrepiece of a forward-looking party program. ... Ladies and gentlemen, we don't want to forget, outside across the country ... And therewith I want to finish.  Here and today, the questions are being asked and I think that you will agree with me when I say, ... At the end of the day, who would deny it? Thank you.
Loriot, Speech in the German Bundestag

With her empty rhetoric, Angela Merkel is a dead ringer for the German humorist Loriot.

In 1957 Germany, together with Belgium, France, Italy, Luxembourg and the Netherlands, was a founding member of the European Economic Community (EEC), which later became the European Community and in 1992, with the Maastricht Treaty, the European Union. Nevertheless, the German Chancellor is afraid to assume leadership in the EU. Rather, Merkel shapes the EU through German national initiatives, such as the German energy transition or the German migration policy. Or she wobbles behind French President Macron's proposals for centralisation.

In the 1960s and 1970s, the Federal Republic enjoyed an unprecedented and sustained boom. To this day, Germany is regarded as the economic powerhouse of Europe. The introduction of the euro was probably the political price that Germany had to pay for reunification in 1990 to reassure its French partner. Today – 20 years after the introduction of the single currency – the success of the euro is  disputed among economists. The general idea that Germany in particular has benefited from the euro is rightly called into question.

With its persistently high export surpluses and comparatively healthy public finances, Germany is still regarded today as an anchor of stability for the European Union and the euro. However, German taxpayers, savers and pensioners have to pay a high price for this honour. The centrifugal forces within the monetary union are increasing appreciably, which is why both the EU and the ECB have taken measures to channel money from north to south. Whether through transfer payments or through low interest rates. Target-2 balances worth 966 billion euros will probably have to be written off to a large extent. In addition, the euro is considered undervalued for Germany, but too strong for the southern European countries. A political solution to this problem is not to be expected.

Photo: A part of the Berlin Wall

This is compounded by Angela Merkel's controversial migration policy, which has led to a deep split not only in Germany but throughout the EU. The vote in favour of Brexit by the United Kingdom in 2016 was, among other things, a reaction to the policy of unrestricted immigration, which was and still is practised by Germany.  This is one of the reasons why national conservative parties and movements, and this is also true of Germany, are gaining strength in many European countries. It is becoming more and more difficult to accept "more of the same".


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