The long, hot German summer has managed to drain the energy from a vivid debate concerning Germany’s role in Europe. But related questions from early 2010 – such as responses to Greece’s debt crisis, what happened to German leadership, and (more broadly) why has Germany fallen out of love with Europe – have not gone away.
Germany’s extreme reluctance to aid Greece, and its visible retreat from its former role as committed leader of the European Union, had led many foreign observers into the unfamiliar stance of charging Berlin with not being European. For many the criticism was that Germany had benefitted from exporting to the eurozone but without giving the other members the chance to grow themselves. France’s economy minister, Christine Lagarde, was one who complained about the asymmetries of intra-European trade relations and Germany’s low domestic demand.