eu members to cooperate in refugee resettlement. Domestic politics and ideology have long prevented Germany from fully taking on the mantle of a liberal hegemon in the European economy. Its ideology of ordoliberalism is the ideology of wage
A Cautionary Tale
Beverly Crawford Ames and Armon Rezai
This article looks critically at the widely held view that Germany has not done enough to help overcome the Eurozone crisis. According to this line of argument, Germany has refused to comprehensively bail out crisis countries, offer mutual support in order to counter speculative attacks or endorse demand-side growth policies. This is allegedly because of a more narrowly defined national self-interest, increased EU-skepticism, and hegemonic ambitions. This article takes the perspective that such criticisms are primarily rooted in a Keynesian reading of the Eurozone troubles, whereas German policies are informed by another rationale: the ideas of so-called ordoliberalism. Generally, this traditional German school emphasizes the importance of principles, rule-based behavior, and long-term goals—and it believes in the (microeconomic) functioning of markets. Consequently, ordoliberals perceive the crisis as resulting from unsustainable debt levels and a lack of competitiveness in southern Europe, concomitant with a failure of Eurozone institutions. Based on this diagnosis, policy proposals are primarily targeted at debt reduction, as well as structural and EU institutional reforms. While Germany's crisis policy thus appears rational from an ordoliberal perspective, it is considered to be at variance with, and inadequate from the viewpoint of a Keynesian approach.
This article offers a corrective to the notion that German ordoliberal ideology is the key to understanding German policy behavior during the Eurocrisis and, by extension, to the contours of the electoral debate in fall 2013. First, it shows that ordoliberal thought underdetermines policy choices. That is, different actors clearly influenced by ordoliberal thinking and often stressing different aspects of the broader ordoliberal cannon are arguing for more or less diametrically opposed policy solutions. Second, the article provides evidence that this deep divide inside the ordoliberal policy community has contributed additional incentives to the tentative and inconclusive policy choices of the government throughout much of the Eurocrisis. Third, the article extends the analysis of this very cautious policymaking into the campaign phase and the subsequent coalition agreement. It explains why the two major German parties—including an SPD with a much thinner attachment than the CDU to ordoliberalism—sought to play down the Eurocrisis in their campaigns and in their subsequent coalition agreement. One implication is the low probability of German policy change despite ideological differences.
The European Union has been in its biggest ever crisis since the onset of the Greek sovereign debt crisis in 2010. Beyond the political and economic dimensions, the crisis has also sparked discussions about Germany's European identity. Some scholars have argued that Germany's behavior in the crisis signals a continuation of the process of “normalization” of its European identity toward a stronger articulation of national identity and interests, that it has “fallen out of love” with Europe. This article will seek to reassess these claims, drawing on detailed analysis of political and media discourse in Germany—from political speeches through to both broadsheet and tabloid newspapers. It will argue that the crisis is understood broadly as a European crisis in Germany, where the original values of European integration are at stake. Furthermore, the crisis is debated through the lens of European solidarity, albeit with a particular German flavor of solidarity that draws on the economic tradition of ordoliberalism. Rather than strengthening expressions of national identity, this has resulted in the emergence of a new northern European identity in contrast to Greece or “southern Europe.”
Irish National Identity and Germany as a “Significant Other” during the Euro Crisis
The interpretation of the crisis and policy solutions have largely been shaped by German ordoliberal ideas, 5 Germany's variant of neoliberalism that guarantees efficient and competitive markets through a rules-based order that can be understood as a
of the formerly relatively balanced Franco-German axis. 4 France had turned into a junior partner whose role was reduced to rubber-stamping predominantly German ordoliberal policies and granting them broader legitimacy through the usual joint Franco
German Reactions to Brexit
renegotiate their membership terms, perhaps leading eventually to a demise of the European Union itself. The goal is to disincentivize future defections. This rules-based, residually “ordoliberal” stance obsessed with minimizing moral hazard has long
existing narrow confines and into electoral politics. 36 Kubitschek, however, found it unwise to embrace the AfD, which at that point was still dominated by cultural conservatives and economic ordoliberals—often former members of Christian Democratic and
well as a chance to reshape the institutional architecture of the Eurozone. 5 But, by violating the no-bailout clause of the Maastricht Treaty, Merkel drew the ire of Germany’s ordoliberal establishment. While economists and business leaders believed
The Front National and the 2014 Municipal Elections in France
Greens—who evince a fundamental convergence around the neoliberal and ordoliberal principles underpinning European economic integration and the institutions—the European Commission, European Central Bank (ECB), and European Court of Justice—that oversee