A bimonthly magazine on international affairs, edited in Germany's capital

The Last European


Whether addressing the refugee crisis or trying to save the euro – German Chancellor Angela Merkel is often accused of divisiveness. Yet the opposite is true: her goal is to maintain EU unity.


© REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

It all began with Greece. Having thought long and hard about it over the summer of 2011, Chancellor Angela Merkel had come to a decision: despite heavy pressure from her own CDU party and its Bavarian sister CSU, she was not going to kick Greece out of the monetary union. Instead Merkel dragged her partners along in the attempt reform and solidify the eurozone.  “If the euro fails, Europe fails,” has been her the mantra ever since, repeated again and again to EU partner and her fellow CDU party members. Europe must exit the debt crisis having grown stronger, she argued. Most of the conflicts that followed over reform demands from Greece in exchange for more billions of aid, were driven by her attempt to create permanent stability for the eurozone through stricter regulatory measures. And this attempt to maintain at least the status quo of prior integration is at the core of every EU-crisis since – the euro crisis, the refugee crisis and itseffect on the Schengen zone, as well as in the relations with difficult EU partners from the UK to Hungary or Poland. At every turn Merkel has stood up against various groups of EU states as well as her own party members who have argued for stricter demands against the respective “problem state.” In her statement at the EU summit on December 17, 2015, Merkel summarized her European political vision as a warning. “In everything we do, we must consider both the cohesion of the European Union and our common responsibility for Europe and for our values,” she said. …

Read more in the Berlin Policy Journal App – March/April 2016 issue.