Germany Reacts to EU Peace Prize
Creating Incentives, Renewing Obligations
17/10/2012 | by Hilary Bown
German politicians and analysts took a largely positive view of the Nobel Prize Committee's awarding of the 2012 Peace Prize to the European Union. Here, in their own words, they describe the significance of the European experiment from national and international perspective and extol the apt timing of the Committee's recognition.
Category European Union, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
Germany Opens Its Doors to Household Energy Consultants
Federal government supports the Energiewende through consumer-oriented measures
16/10/2012 | by Paul Hockenos
The math is simple: Nearly every study concludes that consumer-oriented energy savings measures pay off. In order to increase energy-saving measures across the country and reduce the up-front cost for individuals, Germany is subsidizing energy consultancy in private households–and considers contributing to the purchase of big-ticket appliances in order to meet its 2020 targets.
Category Climate & Energy Policy, European Union, Climate and Environment, Germany, Central Europe, Europe, Denmark, Northern Europe
Subsidizing the Wrong Guys
Money for dirty fuel during a green energy transition
11/10/2012 | by Paul Hockenos
Complaints about the cost of Energiewende subsidies are rife within the German media and public discussion. But the cost of subsidizing far dirtier forms of energy remains overlooked.
Category Non-Renewables, Renewables, Resources and Energy, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
A Battle of Wit and Circumspection
Chancellor challenger Peer Steinbrück is bold and brash – and out to dethrone Angela Merkel
08/10/2012 | by Derek Scally
Germany is gearing up for something unusual: an interesting general election. A year before polling day, the opposition Social Democratic Party (SPD) has nominated Peer Steinbrück as their man to unseat Chancellor Angela Merkel. The 65 year-old Hamburg native, with his quick wit and sharp tongue, is a stand-out figure in the often staid German political landscape. He is a risky candidate for his party – but also for the current German leader. Put simply, Peer Steinbrück is everything Angela Merkel is not.
Category German Foreign Policy, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
The End of Germany's Sonderweg
Compromising on ESM, Merkel leads Germany down a more European path
08/10/2012 | by Andreas Rinke
For decades, Germany has been able to afford unique military and fiscal-political restraint. But all that is changing: first, Germany started participating in international military missions, and now with the European Stability Mechanism and the ECB’s growing political role, the swan song is being sung for the old Bundesbank philosophy. Of all possible times, Berlin has chosen this moment of peak economic strength to abdicate its decades-long special position.
Category European Union, German Foreign Policy, Financial Crisis, Finance, Economy and Finance, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
Unlikely Revolutionaries
Support for the Energiewende goes beyond the usual suspects
04/10/2012 | by Paul Hockenos
Another misunderstanding about Germany’s clean energy shift is the idea that somehow “the state” or green tree huggers are behind it.
Category Renewables, Resources and Energy, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
Redistributive Asylum in Europe?
How an EU-level asylum mechanism could ease pressure at European borders
04/10/2012 | by Polish Institute of International Affairs
The European Parliament is pushing for a formula to redistribute asylum seekers across EU countries. Most member states instead favor harmonizing their laws to preserve more national sovereignty. But a mechanism at the European level could yield far more efficient results.
Category Migration, Government and Society, Central Europe, South-East Europe, Southern Europe, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Northern Europe, Europe
The Heart of a New North-South Axis?
Joint infrastructure projects reconnect the Visegrad Four
02/10/2012 | by Polish Institute of International Affairs
Central Europe's relative strength during the EU fiscal crisis may result in a necessary and beneficial compass realignment of European political and economic interests.
Category Resources and Energy, European Union, Poland, Central Europe, Europe
The Ghosts of Merkel's Past
What will Merkel's legacy be for German European policy?
28/09/2012 | by Derek Scally
Picture the scene: Berlin, 2035. In a packed theater auditorium a teary-eyed audience rises to its feet as a wizened old woman with a familiar bronze helmet of hair is wheeled onto the stage. Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is sharing an emotional, nostalgic reunion with Angela Merkel, three decades after she first took office.
Category German Foreign Policy, European Union, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
Choppy Waters for Offshore Wind
If the Energiewende is to succeed, offshore wind will be crucial
28/09/2012 | by Paul Hockenos
Germany’s offshore wind power is one of the missing links in the Energiewende. The German government wants to see a ginormous 25,000 megawatts of offshore wind parks installed in the Baltic and North Seas—the equivalent of 20 large nuclear power reactors. Yet there are only two wind parks in commercial operation, and one of them operates at just a fifth of capacity.
Category Renewables, Resources and Energy, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
A Union Within the Union
Is Berlin ready for more differentiation within Europe?
27/09/2012 | by Almut Möller
Talk about “multiple speeds” within Europe has been a regular part of the EU debate over the past decades. But many think that the risks of too many speeds within the European Union have often outweighed its benefits.
Category European Union, Europe
The Discreet Charm of Barack Obama
Germany loves Obama because he is not Bush, while Romney might be
25/09/2012 | by Paul Hockenos
If Europeans could vote in the upcoming US presidential election, President Obama would romp Mitt Romney in a landslide even greater than Richard Nixon’s victory over George McGovern in 1972. Surveys show that a flattering 81 percent of Europeans would vote for Barack Obama, while only 19 percent would back the Republican Romney. Obama surely wishes Europeans were voting as his approval ratings in Europe are roughly double those in the US.
Category Europe-USA, Transatlantic Relations, Europe
Beginning a Beautiful Franco-Polish Friendship, Maybe
Franco-Polish rapprochement could open up the Franco-German tandem
25/09/2012 | by Polish Institute of International Affairs
It's nothing short of astounding. Poland and France are warming up to each other, and it is France that has led the way. Francois Hollande visited Warsaw during his presidential campaign and met with President Bronisław Komorowski, and in July minister of foreign affairs Laurent Fabius and minister of defense Jean-Yves Le Drian had meetings with their Polish counterparts. Moreover, both the Poles and the French have set an intense bilateral agenda and are pushing to revive the Weimar Triangle format.
Category European Union, Poland, France, Western Europe, Central Europe, Europe
Democracy Abroad Can Be Defended at Home
Why Germany should ban public screenings of an anti-Islam film
20/09/2012 | by Henning Riecke
Following violent protests staged at Western embassies against an anti-Islam film, Germany is wrestling with the question of whether to ban the film's screening or not. The film can be restricted without damaging larger freedom of expression, and may in fact help the democratic transition process in Arab Spring countries.
Category Political System, Government and Society, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
The Time To Act Has Come
The impetus for European security policy
18/09/2012 | by Andreas Schockenhoff, Roderich Kiesewetter
The debt crisis and efforts to save the euro are overshadowing necessary reforms to Europe’s energy policy and the further expansion of the Common Foreign and Security Policy. However, the EU’s credibility in terms of its ability to take effective action depends on the coherent coordination of monetary, energy, and security policy issues.
Category German Armed Forces, German Foreign Policy, European Union, Defence Policy, Security, CFSP/CSDP, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
Lying About Electricity Prices
The incentive to spread false information about Energiewende costs
18/09/2012 | by Paul Hockenos
We have to talk about prices one more time. It’s all over the media that Germany’s transition to renewables is killing—or going to kill German industry. How can Germany compete abroad when it pays so much for its energy? It’s all a consequence of the Energiewende! This is a lot of rubbish.
Category Renewables, Resources and Energy, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
Europe in the Democracy Trap
Who controls common decisions?
14/09/2012 | by Andreas Rinke
The quick expansion of EU integration—which has been brought about by the financial crisis—threatens to lead to a dead end. The eurozone has segregated itself from the Union’s overall development with ever more binding agreements. A democratic vacuum looms over the continent, and France and Great Britain are mostly to blame.
Category Political Participation, Government and Society, European Union, Europe
A Yarn That Won't Unravel
The Karlsruhe verdict does not change Germany's "poor us" posture
13/09/2012 | by Derek Scally
The Karlsruhe verdict was widely welcomed as a positive sign for the euro and Europe's future, but the doomsday reception of the judgement in Germany itself does not bode well.
Category European Union, Political Culture, Government and Society, Law & Institutions, Fiscal Policy, Economy and Finance, Germany, Central Europe, Europe
A Pacifier Made in Karlsruhe
A boon for the euro, but a bust for Germany's opposition
12/09/2012 | by Almut Möller
Karlsruhe has spoken. As most commentators expected, the highest German constitutional court followed the logic of its past EU related rulings: It is not preventing the Europeanization of Germany, but again communicates its concerns about the rights of the Bundestag and other fundamental pillars of Germany’s constitutional order. Germany again proves to be a predictable and reliable player, which is the major message for Europe and beyond.
Category Economy and Currency, European Union, Europe
The End of the Union As We Know It...
...and the beginning of something new: the debate has started
11/09/2012 | by Almut Möller
The EU is in the process of finding itself again—and the success of this endeavor is far from guaranteed. However, the fact that the debate has started, and that it is more controversial than in the past, is basically a good sign. The new Union will be forged by a new culture of debate, elections, and referenda—or it will fail.
Category European Union, Western Europe, Europe