Germany must rethink its strategy as it cannot remain healthy amid a sick Europe

Euractiv, 09.09.2013

It would be naive to believe that Germany's economy can stay healthy while much of the rest of the continent is "sick". So, as Peer Steinbrück and the SPD demanded repeatedly, it is in Germany's interest to finally rethink its strategy and boost growth writes Jo Leinen MEP.

Jo Leinen is a German MEP, elected on the SPD ticket and acts as a representative within the Party of European Socialists group. 

Across Europe, the elections to the German Bundestag on September 22nd are eagerly awaited. Due to its economic strength Germany has a decisive voice in formulating the EU's answers to the economic crisis.

The result of the election will thus determine the political orientation of the Union:  a more balanced and just policy for Europe and Germany, or if Angela Merkel is allowed to continue with her strategy, a one-sided focus on austerity. The Eurosceptics, however, have no realistic chance, since Europe plays only a minor role in the election campaigns.

Chancellor Merkel has good reasons to avoid talking about Europe in her campaign.  Firstly, because the conservatives (CDU/CSU) might lose votes to the new eurosceptic party, the "Alternative für Deutschland" (AFD).

Secondly,  the current government has become used to tell the truth only in small bits. Now again it tries to fool the people into believing the crisis is solved and Germany is not affected. It keeps quiet about the liability risks that Germany has already taken over through the ECB's purchase of bonds. Discussions about the need for additional emergency packages are nipped in the bud. Mantra-like the Chancellor repeats that Germany is well off. But in the long term, Germany can only be successful within a strong Europe - and to that regard Merkel lacks a strategy and ambition.

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