The New York Times – correctly – talks about German denial. The euro crisis is certainly present in the German media – especially in Der Spiegel and in newspapers focused on economics, like the Financial Times Deutschland and Handelsblatt – but while the crisis makes headlines in other countries, the broad majority of German media has being playing it down. There is reporting, a sprinkling of analyses and commentary, but no specials and not much of an attempt to put the crisis in political or historical perspective. The reporting is often tucked quietly away in economics sections. There is very little soul searching about Germany’s role in Europe. The cultural (“Feuilleton”) pages - which have often been at the forefront of past debates - are content with a little bit of capitalism-bashing. The German public sphere handles the crisis as if Germany were an island.
In fact Germans
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If one talks about the German opposition against bond purchases by the ECB, the historical events of the 1920s are always mentioned as a central reason for the scepticism from Berlin. According to this narrative, the almost hysterical fear stems from the experience of the German middle class having lost its savings twice through hyperinflation in the first half of the past century. Both times, inflation was brought about by governments using the printing press to finance their expenses. As this traumatic experience lives on stories passed on from generation to generation, young Germans still have a fear of inflation far greater than young Italians, young Frenchmen or young Americans.
Of course, this is a very nice, plausible and graphic story – something rare in explaining economics to the broader public. If it is presented in the media, there are interesting pictures of people
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Morocco is voting: the first elections (this time legislative) since the approval of the new constitution this summer. Dr Ahmed Herzenni, a member of the commission which drafted this new constitution, and a former political prisoner under King Hassan II, came to speak at a small round table that ECFR hosted last week and argued that these elections marked an important moment for Morocco’s gradual march towards democracy because the new constitution solved the questions around lack of governmental legitimacy that the 20th February movement had been raising.
And yet, last Sunday saw thousands of protestors out on the streets in Rabat and Casablanca calling for a boycott of the elections, arguing that the new constitution changed nothing in reality and elections would just perpetuate a political system badly in need of reform. Although the new Moroccan constitution devolves a number
This week saw the first official publication of our reinvention project: Mark Leonard’s essay on ‘Four scenarios for the reinvention of Europe’. The paper deals with the fundamental challenge that lies behind the euro crisis – that of Europe’s declining power – and brings in a discussion of the tensions between populism, legitimacy and technocracy and the near-collapse of the EU’s political system. Also on the reinvention theme:
In Britain, bright young things do internships and occupy things, complaining that the world is against them. In Kosovo they become deputy foreign minister. Okay, that might be stretching it a bit, but when I first met Petrit Selimi my first reaction was, “Damn, what have I done with my life?” Selimi, who is in his early thirties, is a whirlwind of dynamism and debt crisis wisdom, and the hope of Europe’s newest country (although Spain and Slovakia might not agree with me on that last point).
He has the unenviable task of fashioning a viable country out of what was a chunk of Yugoslavia, then Serbia. It has also been a United Nations protectorate, before that a war zone, and before that—going a long way back, but for Serbia and Kosovo this bit matters—it was the cradle of Serbian civilisation, and the site where the Turks defeated of a Serbian-led coalition in 1389.
On my first
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A diplomatic strategy for the conflict in Syria
Europeans are losing faith in the EU
Europe can rescue the two-state solution
27 countries in search of a proper security strategy
How Europe can help Egypt
Understanding the influence of the Gulf States
A new era for EU-Georgia relations?
What next for Egypt, Tunisia and Libya?
What does China think about the island dispute?
A comprehensive evaluation of European foreign policy
How the euro crisis has affected politics in 14 EU member states