German power and ‘embedded hegemony’ in Europe

Authored by: Beverly Crawford

The Routledge Handbook of German Politics & Culture

Print publication date:  December  2014
Online publication date:  November  2014

Print ISBN: 9780415686860
eBook ISBN: 9781315747040
Adobe ISBN: 9781317600152


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With ample evidence of German clout in shaping the outcome of the current euro crisis, there is general agreement that Germany is Europe’s economic hegemon: the country with the most resources required for leadership. There has been little effort, however, to define hegemony or the role of a hegemon in the European economy, particularly in a crisis. This chapter describes how Germany’s post-Wall European policy has been shaped by its role as the EU’s economic hegemon since the 1980s. However, its continued position as a hegemonic leader of the eurozone – and of the single market as a whole – remains to be seen. German patronage and leadership ensured cooperation in creating and maintaining the European single market in good times and, in doing so, shaped the European ‘milieu’ (Bulmer, Jeffery, and Paterson 2000) in ways that enhanced European cooperation and protected and bolstered German economic interests. In the current European crisis, however, German unwillingness to make the sacrifices necessary to stabilise monetary union in bad times may signal that the era of hegemonic leadership in Europe is coming to an end.

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