Skip to main content

Angela Merkel Gabriel Rossi/Getty Images

Germany’s New Power of the Purse

In recent years, Germany has emerged as a new kind of great power, not just in Europe, but on the world stage. By leveraging its economic power, using EU institutions and budgets as a force multiplier, and building international coalitions, it has significantly expanded its international influence.

BERLIN – Last week, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel interrupted his holiday on the North Sea to respond to Turkey’s jailing of a German human-rights activist. Gabriel warned German tourists about the dangers of visiting Turkey, and advised German firms to think twice before investing in a country where the authorities’ commitment to the rule of law is increasingly dubious.

This amounts to a new German policy toward Turkey, and it further confirms Germany’s status as an economic great power. Gabriel’s announcement sent shockwaves through the Turkish government, because it recalled Russian President Vladimir Putin’s response to Turkey’s downing of a Russian warplane in 2015. The sanctions that Russia imposed cost Turkey’s already-struggling economy $15 billion, and eventually forced Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to offer a groveling apology.

Putin’s aggressive response came as no surprise. By contrast, Germany’s decision to respond in a similar fashion marks a break from its generally more accommodating diplomatic style.

We hope you're enjoying Project Syndicate.

To continue reading, subscribe now.

Subscribe

Get unlimited access to PS premium content, including in-depth commentaries, book reviews, exclusive interviews, On Point, the Big Picture, the PS Archive, and our annual year-ahead magazine.

https://prosyn.org/EmtAHzB;

Handpicked to read next

  1. drew47_Drew AngererGetty Images_trumpgiulianasmiling Drew Angerer/Getty Images

    Will Trump Be Removed from Office?

    Elizabeth Drew

    Assuming the US House of Representatives votes to impeach President Donald Trump, the fact remains that there are far fewer votes in the Senate than will be needed to convict him and remove him from office. But the willingness of Congress – including the Senate – to continue tolerating his dangerous conduct is now truly in question.

    0
  2. rudd9_Darrian TraynorGetty Images_climateprotestburningaustralia Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

    Unsustainable Australia

    Kevin Rudd

    Before the current conservative government came to power in 2013, Australia was well-positioned to make the necessary transition to a low-carbon economy. But now, the country is heading in reverse, and has already fallen behind most developed countries, and even China, on reducing emissions and building resilience against climate change.

    1

Cookies and Privacy

We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. To find out more, read our updated Cookie policy, Privacy policy and Terms & Conditions