Ms. Europe or Frau Germania?

Only a short while ago, Angela Merkel was celebrated as “Ms. Europe”; now, she increasingly gives the impression of being Frau Germania. Instead of providing resolute leadership in the global financial and economic crisis, the EU's largest economy is withdrawing into its shell.

BERLIN – Just what is the matter with Angela Merkel? Only a short while ago, she was celebrated as “Ms. Europe”; now, she increasingly gives the impression of being Frau Germania. Instead of providing resolute leadership in the global financial and economic crisis, the European Union’s largest economy is withdrawing into its shell.

Germany has always been the motor of European integration, in accordance with its political and economic interests. Every post-World War II government has always been willing to harness Germany’s financial strength to further that aim, i.e., to foot the bill for Europe.

The motto was simple: Germany gives and profits in turn. Should Germany spurn the first part of this formula, the European project would suffer serious damage – and so will German national interests. Yet this is the direction in which Chancellor Merkel seems to be heading.

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