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German Chancellor Angela Merkel arrives for a statement on the Munich attack, Berlin, July 23, 2016 (AP photo by Michael Sohn).

Europe’s Crises Force Reluctant Germany to Accept Its Leadership Role

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Since 2009, the European Union has faced a nonstop string of major crises, from Greece’s debt and Ukraine’s separatist fighting, to the refugee influx and now Brexit. Throughout each one, Germany has found itself leading the EU as it muddles its way to a response. But Germany’s leadership hasn’t always been welcome, and Germany’s own relationship with its role in Europe is complicated.

Berlin has always had an important role in the EU, but historically it was the partnership between Germany and France that drove European policy. However, as the eurozone crisis grew into a pressing emergency and France was forced to deal with its domestic fiscal troubles, Germany alone had the credibility and resources to take the lead in Europe. It’s a role Berlin wasn’t comfortable with then, and with which it still struggles today. ...

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