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The German Ethic and the European Spirit: can Germany guarantee the euro’s stability


Jean-François Jamet, Institut d’Études Politiques de Paris

The euro crisis which unfolded in the first half of 2010 was the source of lively debate in Europe over the stabilising or destabilising role played by Germany. On the one hand, the financial markets saw Germany as a centre of stability because of its economic performance. On the other, many observers criticised the German procrastination that preceded the creation of the Financial Stability Facilty and the Aid Plan for Greece. The debate came during a time of crisis that revealed major divergence, both economic and political, within the euro area. Essentially, this meant economic divergence but also divergence with regard to the policy to adopt in the face of the crisis. This study examines the German position in the Greek crisis with an insight into what this reveals about Germany’s relationship with the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It analyses the basis of the German economic “ethic” and the way it came to the fore during the crisis. It then looks into the difficult position occupied by Germany between the “normalisation” of its European economic policy –which now reflects internal political issues as in other Member States – and a bid to take over the leadership of the reform of European economic governance.