Admission to the Master International Relations, track European Union Studies
The Euro crisis has catapulted Germany into a position of leadership within the European Union. This was rather unusual, as before this moment Germany had for a long time grown into an economic giant, yet at the same time had remained (relatively speaking) a political dwarf. Responsibility for a barbaric war and the division of the country during the East-West conflict had accounted for this. Though reunification in 1990 had restored Germany to a more proportional share of power, even then the country kept much of its postwar low profile. The Euro crisis has changed much of this.
Driven by its economic power and its particular opinions and interests in monetary issues, Germany increasingly took the lead in tackling this crisis. Although it was reproached of showing not enough European leadership, even of being un-European in its conduct, it nonetheless left a strong mark on the policies that the EU applied in rescuing the common currency.
Germany made sure that the Eurozone stayed together, but also that the countries with serious financial problems started to adhere to strict budgetary discipline and implement structural economic reforms. On that condition it was willing to participate in financial aid packages, and even that only if the EU would establish much stricter budgetary rules for the Eurozone and put them into strong legal language. “Solidarity only on the basis of solidity”, has constituted the German battle cry during the crisis. In addition it has drawn attention to the necessity for all member states to implement structural economic reforms in order to increase the competitiveness of their economies.
This German position during the Euro crisis has provoked fierce anti-German reactions, both visible and less visible ones. With it Germany has also risked losing the support of its prime European ally, France, which not only advocated more Keynesian policies for combating the crisis but also had fallen behind in applying structural reforms to its own economy. Keeping its alliance with France intact has been a major concern for Germany all through this crisis.
At the same time, Chancellor Angela Merkel has had to walk a tight rope to prevent the sceptical German populace from withdrawing support from her Euro policies. Her advocacy of strict budgetary and reform measures combined with a fierce pro-Euro standpoint has given her the domestic support that she needed. In particular her stunning victory in the September 2013 parliamentary elections has given Merkel a sound vote of domestic confidence. Euroscepticism, although on the rise, has not yet found a firmly embedded expression in the German political landscape.
The Euro is a currency without a state. This has been an important explanation for the depth of the crisis. Although the Euro crisis is not over yet, Germany has all in all succeeded in leading the EU in rebuilding the Economic and Monetary Union (Budgetary Union, Banking Union, and Economic Union), so as to make up for these missing state functions. Implementation of these new arrangements and regulations is key to further management of the Euro crisis.
All of this Germany has mostly done by way of European Council decision making, but at the same time by reinforcing the European Commission as the central European authority for applying strong surveillance of Member States’ financial and economic conduct. It has also allowed the European Central Bank to develop into the Eurozone’s ‘lender of last resort’, expanding its mandate beyond a strict (traditionally German) interpretation.
We will discuss Germany’s place in European integration by focusing on its conduct during the Euro crisis. We will also explore the effects of the Euro crisis on Germany’s growing general leadership in Europe, as it has become visible during the Ukraine crisis and the refugee issue. By way of a conclusion we will discuss the future of European integration through the spectre of German leadership.
To achieve a good understanding of the European Union by concentrating on the relations between the EU and its member states, and between the member states amongst each other.
To understand Germany’s particular position within the EU, both in a historical and a contemporary context, mostly from an internal perspective, but also considering its external role.
To be able to analyse the Euro crisis, both as a political and a financial-economic as well as an institutional phenomenon of European integration.
See the website.
Mode of instruction
Total course load for the course: 5 EC is 140 hours.
Hours spent on attending seminars (attendance is compulsory): 4 hours per week x 6 weeks = 24 hours
Time for studying the compulsory literature and preparation for the lectures: 6 hours per week x 6 = 36 hours
Preparation for the paper: 80 hours
Participation and essay.
The final paper will only be marked if the student has attended the seminars.
The final mark for the course is established by determining the weighted average.
Retake paper: resubmit three weeks after the grade has been made known. In order to be eligible for the retake paper, students have to have failed the course.
Yes, see Blackboard.
A reading list will be distributed before the start of the course.