Bismarck contra Bismarck

ATENAS – A centralidade da Alemanha para a Europa e, mais amplamente, para os assuntos mundiais tem sido demonstrada de forma ampla, e muitas vezes sangrenta, ao longo de muitos séculos. Na verdade, a posição estratégica da Alemanha no coração da Europa, bem como o seu enorme potencial económico e militar, tornou-a primeiro num prémio pretendido e depois, após a conclusão da unificação alemã de Otto von Bismarck, em 1871, num Estado-nação a ser temido. O legado de Bismarck foi uma Alemanha que dominou a política da Europa até ao final da Segunda Guerra Mundial.

Esse legado está agora a reafirmar-se. Após o interlúdio da Guerra Fria, durante a qual a Alemanha serviu como centro de discórdia entre o Oriente e o Ocidente, a reunificação permitiu a reafirmação do poder alemão no contexto da União Europeia e, principalmente, da zona euro. Hoje, no entanto, a questão é saber se a Alemanha está pronta e disposta a fornecer liderança na condução dos assuntos da União Europeia - e, em caso afirmativo, com que finalidade.

A Europa enfrenta actualmente a crise mais desafiante do período pós-guerra. Após seis trimestres de recessão, a crise está a espalhar-se para os países centrais da zona euro. O desemprego, acima dos 12%, em média, está num patamar recorde. Em Espanha e na Grécia, mais de um quarto da mão-de-obra está desempregada, enquanto as taxas de desemprego rondam os 60% entre os jovens. Apesar da dura austeridade, os grandes défices fiscais persistem; os bancos permanecem descapitalizados e incapazes de suportarem uma recuperação económica sustentada.

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