Ulrike Guérot

Ulrike Guérot is the representative for Germany at the European Council on Foreign Relations, based in Berlin. She has widely published in European and American journals and has held teaching positions in various European and American universities, including the Paul H. Nitze School for Advanced International Studies. Dr. Guérot has been decorated with France's Ordre National du Mérite for her European engagement. Her column, the Continentalist, appears every Monday.

Articles written by Ulrike Guérot

The Continentalist: After Southern Europe, France's Turn for Austerity Cure

By Ulrike Guérot
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Last week’s general strike in Spain, Portugal and Greece, the first ever to be coordinated across national borders, reflects the depth of the social distortions produced by the past three years of crisis and economic retraction in Southern Europe. According to the conventional wisdom, France is next in line for the austerity/restructuring treatment. By all indications, Paris has gotten the message. more

The Continentalist: U.S., EU Must Move Beyond 'Old' Strategic Thinking

By Ulrike Guérot
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President Barack Obama was re-elected by America’s "next" generation, which responded to a message of a more social, peaceful and ecological America. What is truly remarkable is the winning Obama coalition of young white suburbanites, women and urban minorities in what is still a center-right country. This has profound lessons not just for U.S. Republicans, but also for European conservative parties. more

The Continentalist: EU-Russia Ties Drift Toward Divergence

By Ulrike Guérot
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At the end of the Cold War, some observers suggested that Europe might be able to bind the U.S. and Russia together in a bold trilateral relation defining the new West. Twenty years later, it seems clear that Europe has failed to do so. Rather than being the powerful glue that secures a renewed relationship between Russia and the U.S., Europe could soon find itself the object of benign neglect by both. more

The Continentalist: Regionalism as the Basis for a Post-Crisis EU

By Ulrike Guérot
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The rise of regional autonomy movements across Europe seems light years away from the European Union’s supranational ambitions. But if regions have become the new rivals to nations, regionalism is not necessarily a bad thing for the EU. Empowering regions in the context of a supranational EU could actually be an interesting way to organize governance in Europe, albeit at the expense of the nation state. more

The Continentalist: For EU, Peace Comes Without Strategy

By Ulrike Guérot
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The announcement that the EU had won the Nobel Peace Prize last week shifted attention from the failed merger between defense giants EADS and BAE. The European defense industry has struggled for 20 years with the need to restructure and adapt to global markets, but the effort has been systematically torpedoed by narrow-minded national interests. This is also, it seems, what undid the deal that failed last week. more

The Continentalist: Steinbrück's Vision for Germany's European Future

By Ulrike Guérot
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The Social Democratic Party announced last week that Peer Steinbrück would be its candidate in Germany’s next general elections. Steinbrück has raised important questions about where Germany should be heading in both a European and a global setting. This is important, as the tectonic plates that have locked Germany deeply into European integration and a trans-Atlantic framework are shifting. more

The Continentalist: Who Is Really Leading the EU?

By Ulrike Guérot
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Throughout the European Union’s sovereign debt crisis, the conventional wisdom has portrayed Germany as leading the EU, in particular by imposing its economic policy preferences on Greece, Italy and Spain. But while Germany seems to be the most powerful player these days, it is pretty isolated, and a new coalition bent on pushing back against the “Berlin Consensus” seems to be forming. more

The Continentalist: Germany Trips Up EU on China Ties

By Ulrike Guérot
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There has never been a time when it mattered more for the European Union to be able to speak firmly, coherently and constructively to China in order to avoid the great selloff of Europe. Sadly, however, the German government and the European Commission appear to be doing their best to undercut the EU’s ability to wield international influence and have its ambitions taken seriously in Beijing. more

The Continentalist: The EU Gets Serious About Saving the Euro

By Ulrike Guérot
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In the future, should a continent-spanning republic ever emerge in Europe, historians will probably point to Sept. 12, 2012, as one of the game-changing days in the historic march toward such a goal. The European political class has apparently decided over the summer not only to get serious about the euro, but also about European democracy. What’s more, it seems to have decided to go public. more

The Continentalist: U.S. Cannot Afford to 'Lose' Europe

By Ulrike Guérot
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Few Europeans were expecting any emphasis on Europe or the European Union as one of America’s most steadfast strategic partners in President Barack Obama’s keynote speech at the Democratic Party convention last week. Still, Obama’s only reference to Europe came as a surprise to European audiences, reducing Europe to its current difficulties, a risk comparable to the terrorist threat. more

The Continentalist: What Burden Can Germany Bear to Save Euro?

By Ulrike Guérot
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The downgrade warning issued to Germany by Moody’s last week has shaken German public opinion and raised the question of whether Berlin can bear the costs of extricating the eurozone from its ongoing sovereign debt crisis. The question of what Germany can bear has two components: One involves the financial costs, while the other has to do with what German public opinion can support.
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The Continentalist: Getting the U.K. Off the Sidelines in Europe

By Ulrike Guérot
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The U.K. is not yet completely a lost cause for the EU, but it is close, as a just-released poll on British sentiments toward Europe demonstrates. This is not surprising, given British public discourse about Europe ever since the U.K. joined the EU: British politicians have never truly committed to flying the European flag and consistently fail to tell their citizens what they actually get out of EU membership. more

The Continentalist: Eastern Europe's Democratic Erosion Threatens EU Cohesion

By Ulrike Guérot
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In 2000, when Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel formed a coalition government with Jörg Haider’s far-right Freedom Party of Austria, the 14 member states of the European Union immediately agreed to sanction the country. Today, with populism on the rise across the EU and an erosion of democratic norms on display in Eastern Europe, this kind of forceful reaction is no longer even imaginable. more

The Continentalist: Putting the EU Back Into the European Neighborhood

By Ulrike Guérot
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Following the Arab Spring, the EU could have tried to assert itself as a main actor in the Mediterranean region, promoting mutually beneficial relations to open up new trade opportunities and new sources of energy and other resources. But while it has taken some constructive steps, the EU has failed to take decisive action across the region as a whole. more

The Continentalist: Closing the EU-German Perception Gap

By Ulrike Guérot
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Having done all the right things at last week’s European Union summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel found herself blamed, even attacked, in Germany for the summit’s outcome. Merkel helped prevent Spain from going bankrupt. Yet, she faced an outcry back home. This gap between what might be the first step toward a victory for Europe and the perception of defeat among Germans matters.  more

The Continentalist: Europe Nears Its Hamiltonian Moment

By Ulrike Guérot
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The European Union’s solidarity vs. sovereignty game of chicken goes another round this week with the EU Council meeting on June 28. France is seeking a banking union and eurobonds; Germany wants collective oversight on spending beforehand. The crux of the standoff boils down to a question of trust. My take on the subject at this stage of the events: Trust Germany -- and hope that France does, too. more

The Continentalist: Germany's Euro Counterattack

By Ulrike Guérot
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Nobody can predict how the coming week will unfold in the aftermath of Greece’s parliamentary elections. Nervousness in politics and markets has been increasing, and a Greek exit from the euro can no longer be excluded as a last resort. One thing is certain, however: Germany -- the biggest contributor to the European Union’s rescue umbrella and thus the Greek debt -- is losing patience. more

The Continentalist: Spain's Moment of Agony, Europe's Moment of Truth

By Ulrike Guérot
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This weekend, Spain followed Greece, Portugal and Ireland in seeking shelter under the EU's rescue umbrella in order to save its banks. The confession of failure might take a harder toll on the Spanish nation than the formal monetary rescue procedure itself: The fact that Spain now becomes the first major EU economy to experience this humiliation makes it a significant psychological blow to national pride. more

The Continentalist: For Germany, June 17 Could Again Mark History

By Ulrike Guérot
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On June 17, 1953, after a rise in bread prices, demonstrations by striking workers in the streets of East Berlin were crushed by Soviet tanks. This year, June 17 may turn out to be another important day for Germany as well as for the euro and Europe. On that day, parliamentary elections will be held in Greece and France, and the outcome may be more important for Germany than many Germans realize.
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German Foreign Policy: The Temptation of Going Alone

By Ulrike Guérot
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Germany’s handling of the sovereign debt crisis gripping the eurozone has led some to wonder whether Germany has lost interest in Europe, or in the role it has historically played in the European Union. But does Germany really believe it has other, global options for a more unilateral foreign policy? The answer is clearly “no,” but it is a no that has shades of gray. German foreign policy is no longer unambiguous, to say the least. more