How Germany’s Romance With Europe has Wilted
Germany began and lost two World Wars in the first half of the 20th century. And, since that formative experience, the nation has become one of the most ardent supporters of a unified Europe. To prove its belief in the continent it has opened its checkbook on more than one occasion. In a recent change of heart, Germany’s shown a bit of reluctance about funding a Greek bailout. As a result, the question has arisen as to whether or not Germany has retreated into a nationalism they abandoned a long time ago.
According to a New York Times op-ed piece:
“Let me explain. Germany is probably still the most ardent believer in Europe. We are not becoming more nationalistic, just more realistic. For decades we have shouldered the challenges of the European project. We paid the lion’s share into all the budgets and grand schemes the European Union ever conceived. We gave our national interests second row.
“Shell-shocked and ashamed after World War II, we yearned for a new identity. We wanted to be Europeans more than we wanted to be Germans. That was our state of mind throughout the Cold War. It was true even for a long time after the Wall came down.
“After Paris, I went to Washington in 2002 to head our bureau there, and I shared this view with a French diplomat. ‘We are not just flirting with France,’ I told him. ‘We are serious: We want to marry. We always wanted to. But that window is closing.’ Not abruptly, I told him. We were slowly coming to terms with ourselves. We were becoming a normal nation — as much as possible, anyway.”
According to this writer, Germany was pushing hardest to move such different countries toward becoming a United States of Europe. At the same time, the other nations of the continent resisted, and were hesitant and unwilling. Now, in order to survive, the EU more than ever needs German money while the country has been doing a lot of second guessing about the possibility.
Today, the eurozone finally agreed on a $146 billion rescue package for Greece but, one has to wonder, at what cost? The preamble to the Treaty on European Union states that it is to be an ever closer union, meaning a time should come of complete unity. With the new deal struck it’s interesting to see whether that dream becomes that much closer or further away than ever.
You can visit The New York Times to read more about how Germany has waited too long for Europe.