Angela Merkel’s government is forcing Southern Europe to undertake profound reforms while at the same time denying its own responsibility for the consequences of its crisis policies. Germany is risking a historic failure with its shortsighted wrangling.
Under the imploring headline “We Germans Don’t Want a German Europe,” German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble recently denied in a newspaper essay published simultaneously in Great Britain, France, Poland, Italy and Spain that Germany seeks a political leadership role in the European Union. Schäuble who, along with Labor Minister Ursula von der Leyen, is the only remaining member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet who can be characterized as a “European” in the West German mold, speaks from conviction. He is anything but a revisionist seeking to reverse Germany’s integration into Europe, thereby destroying the basis for the stability of the postwar order. He is familiar with the problem that Germans must fear should it ever return.