Leading through a Decade of Crisis—Not Bad, After All

Germany’s Leadership Demand and Followership Inclusion, 2008-2018

in German Politics and Society
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The decade following the great economic and financial crisis of 2008 saw the European Union demanding regional leadership. The EU has also suffered a number of other existential crises, such as the ongoing refugee crisis, the Ukraine-Russia military confrontation, the revival of nationalism and radical right-wing populism, alongside the “trade war” between the United States and the EU. The article develops a novel theoretical framework structuring leadership as a peculiar typology of power, characterized by the capacity of both including “followership” countries’ interests and providing crisis management. Our central argument is that Germany responded strategically to leadership demand in Europe through a positive power role, exhibiting the inclusion of followership and multilateral leadership rather than hegemonic, together with crisis management skills based on solid influence over regional outcomes. Conclusions are drawn from five key case studies drawn from different policy areas.