Europe is in a period of transition and there is great uncertainty about its direction. No country plays a greater role in influencing Europe's future path than Germany, which is either seen as overbearing or indecisive in its imposition of policies-and sometimes is seen as both at once. In The Germany Illusion, Marcel Fratzscher provides a distinctive corrective to common misunderstandings of Germany's domestic political economy and how it affects its European and global roles.
Fratzscher's trenchant analysis sheds light on the true state of Germany's economy, which is neither as rosy as optimists believe nor as hidebound as pessimists fear. He covers the breadth of the German economy, from its deceptive employment miracle, the sources and underlying problems of its export strengths, its large investment gap, and not least the differences between east and west that continue since reunification.
Understanding the domestic scene in Germany is crucial to understanding its relationships with other European countries, the European Union, and the United States. Fratzscher traces the sources and implications of the differences and conflict between Germany and its neighbors on European policymaking generally and in particular during the European economic and financial crisis, the Brexit debate, the refugee crisis, the rising populism and protectionism in the United States and in Europe, and over fundamental reforms of European institutions.
The Germany Illusion is a balanced and nuanced examination of pressing and complex issues that enhances our understanding of German policies-the strengths and weaknesses, the possibilities and the limits. It also proposes a realistic path for Germany to re-engage with its European neighbors and with the United States, and to help re-build Europe's future.
Marcel Fratzscher is President of DIW Berlin, a leading economics research institute in Europe and Professor of Macroeconomics at Humboldt-University Berlin.
PART I: THE FIRST ILLUSION: A SECOND GERMAN ECONOMIC MIRACLE?
2. From "sick man of Europe" to economic superstar
3. The employment miracle
4. The export world champion
5. A fiscally virtuous government?
6. The investment gap
7. The divided country
8. The refugee crisis
PART II: THE SECOND ILLUSION: GERMANY DOES NOT NEED EUROPE?
9. Germany's role during the European crisis
10. The importance of the euro for Europe
11. Germany, the euro and the European Central Bank
12. Germany as Europe's reluctant hegemon