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Luke B. Wood

Abstract

The bureaucratic politics of the German decision to bailout Greece reveal that policy proposals from the Office of the Federal Chancellery and the Federal Ministry of Finance to cope with the crisis in Greece stood to benefit those specific ministries. Centered on a national/supranational cleavage, policy debates in the second Angela Merkel government revolved around whether the European Union should be delegated more power in terms of broader Eurozone macroeconomic governance. Angela Merkel rejected broader treaty revisions insisting on strict adherence to the Stability and Growth Pact and the large-scale participation of the imf. Conversely, Federal Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble opposed imf involvement and advocated for increased eu competency including support for the French proposal to institutionalize the Eurogroup. The policy positions of these two organizational actors remained deeply conditioned by organizational interests, rather than partisan or ideological divides over conceptions of “European Unity.”

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Luke B. Wood

Germany’s increased power capabilities in foreign affairs since reunification have prompted scholars to argue that the country should be viewed as a regional hegemonic power, exercising significant influence not only over smaller countries in Eastern and Southern Europe, but also over the institutions of the European Union. After providing a critical assessment of the literature on hegemony in Europe, this article outlines three main trends in the scholarship on German power in European affairs. First, scholars tend to exaggerate Berlin’s power capabilities relative to other major European states such as France, Italy, and the United Kingdom. Research shows that Europe is best understood as a multipolar regional order, not a hegemonic system dominated by one powerful state. Second, German leadership in Europe is contested and often delegitimized. Since 1949, German political elites have not been able to exercise influence in Europe without the support of other European states. This remains true even after the collapse of the Franco-German “tandem” in the wake of the European debt crisis. Third, scholars fail to adequately address how American power in the North Atlantic impacts regional polarity. Since reunification, the role of the United States in Europe has only increased and American influence over Eastern Europe, in particular, surpasses that of other European powers, including Germany.

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Sabine von Mering, Luke B. Wood, J. Nicholas Ziegler, John Bendix, Marcus Colla, and Alexander Dilger

Dolores L. Augustine, Taking on Technocracy: Nuclear Power in Germany, 1945 to the Present (New York: Berghahn Books, 2018)

Michael Meng and Adam R. Seipp, Modern Germany in Transatlantic Perspective (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017)

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, The Extreme Gone Mainstream: Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2017)

Constantin Goschler, ed. Compensation in Practice: The Foundation ‘Remembrance, Responsibility and Future’ and the Legacy of Forced Labour during the Third Reich (New York: Berghahn Books, 2017)

Albert Earle Gurganus, Kurt Eisner: A Modern Life (Rochester: Camden House, 2018)

Claudia Sternberg, Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni, and Kalypso Nicolaïdis, The Greco-German Affair in the Euro Crisis: Mutual Recognition Lost? (London: Palgrave MacMillan, 2018)