Sunday, January 04, 2015
The political associations in Europe at the moment are undoubtedly set by Berlin.
Angela Merkel and Wolfgang Schäuble, both ultra liberals, have established a political and ideological hegemony in a Europe of weak leaderships and damaged countries.
With France have been subverted by the political and financial crisis and lacking the exemplary personalities such as Mitterrand and Delors, the French-German axis did not collapse as much as it emphatically leaned in Berlin's direction.
The former glory and strength of Paris is now exhausted in negotiating for some privileged positions for the good boys of the French political elite in the supranational European institutions, such as the Commission, the European Central Bank and others.
Truth be told, France resembles a German satellite country, while Spain and Italy have run out of strength. From then on the richer Netherlands, Finland and Austria, as well as the smaller central and northern European countries such as the developing Poland, act as ideological and political pillar of the dominant trends in Berlin.
However Berlin's established supremacy causes and fuels the emerging anti-German political forces in the European south. Additionally, it supports the developing anti-German sentiments in societies ravaged by financial stagnancy and high unemployment, as they see Germany collect the capital.
If Berlin insists upon this ideological and political rigor than the political problems will multiply in Europe and sooner or later, they will reach Merkel's yard.
At the moment Germany has the resources and opportunity to change. Instead of self-complacently demanding that other countries be more like itself, it can help them and rid Europe of the major political complications, which are capable of harming the European structure as a whole, and which has steadily supported German wealth and hegemony for that past couple decades.
The country of Merkel and Schäuble has set its fiscal deficits under control and balanced its budget, while the primary surpluses are enormous and the surplus of payments amounts to 7% of Germany's GDP. The government in Berlin couple quite easily implement an expansive fiscal policy, undertake major public works, support growth initiatives across Europe, offer better wages to productive German employees and through them support growth in the entire Old Continent.
The social, financial and political circumstances in Europe demand such a turn, which would confirm and truly renew German hegemony.
If the Germans want to play the hegemonic role in the United States of Europe then they must let go of the inflationary syndromes from the interwar period, stop preaching and face the European and German economy with flexibility and vision.
So long as they do not do so and on the contrary insist on block the European Central Bank's quantitative easing and credit facility initiatives that were introduced due to the circumstances, then they will subvert the European structure and their future.
The year 2015 will prove to be critical for Europe's future. A lot will depend on the potential change in Berlin. It is in the hand of Merkel and Schäuble to prove whether they are fit to lead Europe or whether they remain minor leaders of the unambiguous German peripheries...
Originally published in the Sunday print edition