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Perceptions of German Leadership

Irish National Identity and Germany as a “Significant Other” during the Euro Crisis

Charlotte Galpin

Introduction As the eu' s largest economy, Germany was thrust into a new leadership role in Europe with the onset of the Euro crisis in 2010. This new role has resulted in debates about its status as Europe's “reluctant hegemon.” 1 According

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The “Alternative for Germany”

Factors Behind its Emergence and Profile of a New Right-wing Populist Party

Frank Decker

Abstract

Until 2013, right-wing populist or extremist parties were unable to establish themselves as a relevant political force in Germany. With the advent of the Alternative für Deutschland the party landscape has changed significantly. The window of opportunity for the newcomer was opened in 2013 by the Euro crisis. Combining euroskepticism with liberal economic policies and a conservative social issue agenda the AfD mainly capitalized on the neglecting of these matters by the liberal party and the Christian democrats. Controversy between the market-oriented moderate wing represented by party founder Bernd Lucke and the radical advocates of national populism led to the split off of the former in July 2015. Only with the refugee crisis did the AfD regain its electoral fortunes and obtained its best results thus far in the March 2016 state elections. Most probably, the party’s prospects will remain promising if one considers the voter’s side. The main risks lie in its own ranks, where ideological battles, personal struggles and the unresolved question of how to distance the party from right-wing extremism could further self-destruction.

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Stephen J. Silvia

Among the many striking developments that arose out of the 2008-2009

financial crisis and the subsequent EURO crisis has been the policy divergence

between the United States and Germany. Typically, the two countries

have broadly similar preferences regarding economic policy. To be

sure, this is not the first time that Germany and the U.S. have failed to see

eye to eye on economic matters,1 but the recent gap in perception and

policy does warrant attention because it has been unusually large. Unlike

the famous quarrels between Jimmy Carter and Helmut Schmidt in the

1970s,2 personality does not seem to play a role in this case. What then

does explain the gulf?

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Stephen Gross

Over the past decade Germany has had one of the most successful

economies in the developed world. Despite the ongoing Euro crisis unemployment

has fallen below 7 percent, reaching its lowest levels since German

reunification in 1990. Germany’s youth unemployment is among the

lowest in Europe, far beneath the European average.1 One of the most

important engines of the German economy today, and in fact throughout

the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, has been its export sector. As Ludwig

Erhard, West Germany’s Economics Minister during the Wirtschaftswunder

of the 1950s remarked: “foreign trade is quite simply the core and

premise of our economic and social order.”2 According to various estimates,

today exports and imports of goods and services account for nearly a half of

German GDP—up from only a quarter in 1990. Germany is one of only three

economies that do over a trillion dollars worth of exports a year, the other

two being the United States and China.

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Eric Langenbacher

Not once during the campaign—or actually over the whole course of the

seventeenth Bundestag (2009-2013)—was it ever really in doubt that Angela

Merkel would continue as chancellor after the 22 September 2013 parliamentary

election. Despite the vicissitudes of governing for eight years, most

in the midst of the financial and Euro crisis, she has achieved and sustained

some of the highest approval ratings of any postwar German politician. Voters

trust Merkel as a good manager of the economy and an honest steward

and defender of German interests in Europe. Her carefully cultivated image

as a steady, reassuring, and incorruptible leader, coupled with her political

acumen, ideological flexibility and, at times, ruthlessness—captured in the

dueling monikers of Mutti Merkel and Merkelavelli1—are the keys to her

profound success.

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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)

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Stephen J. Silvia

Since German unification, assessments of the German economy have swung from “sick man of the euro” in the early years to dominant hegemon of late. I argue that the German economy appears strong because of its recent positive performance in two politically salient areas: unemployment and the current account. A deeper assessment reveals, however, that German economic performance cannot be considered a second economic miracle, but is at best a mini miracle. The reduction in unemployment is an important achievement. That said, it was not the product of faster growth, but of sharing the same volume of work among more individuals. Germany’s current account surpluses are as much the result of weak domestic demand as of export prowess. Germany has also logged middling performances in recent years regarding growth, investment, productivity, and compensation. The article also reviews seven challenges Germany has faced since unification: financial transfers from west to east, the global financial crisis, the euro crisis, internal and external migration, demographics, climate change, and upheavals in the automobile industry. German policy-makers managed the first four challenges largely successfully. The latter three will be more difficult to tackle in the future.

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Sticking to Her Guns or Going with the Flow

Assessing Rigidity and Flexibility in Angela Merkel’s Political Decision Making

Christian Schnee

This paper investigates levels of rigidity and flexibility in Angela Merkel’s decision making during her first three governments from 2005 to 2017. The study is a contribution to understanding German politics in the era of Merkel who has regularly been criticized for allegedly lacking a transformative agenda and ideological consistency. Methodologically this study draws on Jonathan Keller’s framework that differentiates between internally and externally validated leaders, with the latter seeking to appease and curry favor with stakeholders and the former committed to their personal believes. The study assesses Merkel’s decisions on fiscal and economic policies, zooms in on her u-turn on nuclear energy, touches upon her dithering during the Euro crisis and discusses at some length her protracted coming to terms with the refugee crisis. Findings suggest her flexibility to be predominantly a reflection of political expediencies and intended to preserve her party’s political compatibility with potentially supportive stakeholders. Her approach thus is in line with the agenda to manage coalition governments successfully, moderate and conciliate divergent interests and thus secure their position in power.

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Joachim Schild

France and Germany played a highly visible leadership role during the management of the Euro crisis and the efforts to design a reform governance framework for the Euro area. This article provides a conceptualization of this bilateral leadership, which is then applied to trace the process of Franco-German leadership during the ongoing crisis of the Euro area. Franco-German leadership grew ever more important as the crisis deepened. After the French presidential election of 2012, however, the divergences between the two core states of the Euro area deepened and made the exercise of joint leadership more difficult to achieve. I consider this leadership role to be based on a compromise by proxy logic in which France and Germany, starting from divergent positions, strike bilateral compromises acceptable to other member states that feel their own interests are represented by either France or Germany. Their common capacity to find suitable remedies to cope with crisis, however, is not beyond doubt. The Franco-German approach followed an additive logic, combining the temporary and permanent financial support schemes-a French preference-with a concomitant strengthening of fiscal rules advocated by Germany. In the end, the two governments did not develop a common comprehensive strategy based on a shared conceptual framework.

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Investing in Early Crisis Relief or Reelection?

Comparing German Party Responses to the Euro Crisis

Alexandra Hennessy

responsiveness and perceptions of issue competence during times of crises that guides the empirical analysis. The subsequent section examines the commitments German parties offered to cope with the euro crisis, and how partisan appeals were perceived by