Taking stock of 30 years of German unity

Saturday's celebrations marking the 30th anniversary of German reunification were on a far smaller scale than originally planned due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Today we live in the best Germany that has ever existed," President Steinmeier declared in Potsdam. "Our country has become more modern and more open because that was what we wanted." Commentators do not share his euphoria.

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wPolityce.pl (PL) /

Germany is calling the shots again

Web portal wPolityce.pl warns of the prospect of the reunited Germany increasingly dominating Europe:

“The flags are different, today the Germans see themselves as a model of democracy and converting Europe to a leftist worldview, to multiculturalism, as their task. Nevertheless, once again they are the best at doing what they think is best. Once again, everything is subordinated to Germany's economic power, especially regarding anti-European projects like Nord Stream 1 and 2, not to mention EU industry guidelines and the European currency.”

The Economist (GB) /

More distance vis-à-vis Russia and China please

The Economist calls on Berlin to change its foreign policy objectives:

“Germany has been too cautious in its policy towards Russia and China, tending to put commercial interests ahead of geopolitical ones. The construction of Nord Stream 2, a gas pipeline connecting Russia and Germany, is a case in point. It undermines the interests of Ukraine, Poland and the Baltic states, but until now Mrs Merkel has refused to cancel it, despite the outrageous behaviour of President Vladimir Putin. Nor has she listened much to those in her own party who warn that it is too risky to allow Huawei, a Chinese firm, to supply Germany with 5g telecoms equipment.”

El País (ES) /

So far it's been a walk in the park

The next three decades will not be as easy for Germany as the last three were, historian Timothy Garton Ash comments in El País:

“In today's world, roiled by populism, fanaticism and authoritarianism, the Federal Republic is a beacon of stability, civility and moderation - qualities personified by Chancellor Angela Merkel. But the national and regional challenges that Germany has faced over the last 30 years pale in comparison with the global ones it will face over the next 30. Unlike some other democracies, including southern European members of the Eurozone such as Greece and Spain, this German democracy has not yet faced the test of a really major economic crisis.”

Der Tagesspiegel (DE) /

Better to celebrate Diversity Day

Amid the celebrations marking Germany's reunification people forget too often just how exclusive the term "nation" is, Der Tagesspiegel criticizes:

“In German the term nation - a legacy from the 19th century - does not include the concept of otherness. Non-whites generally have no right to club cards, even if they can recite Goethe by heart. Hoyerswerda, Solingen, Mölln and the other pogroms after 1990 can only be understood in this context. ... Governments around the world - from Hungary to the US - are increasingly characterized by nationalist sentiment and take no stock of pluralist realities in their policy-making. ... It would be nice if we could celebrate German Diversity Day on October 3, 2030. And then at some point not the United States of Europe but the European Republic of the Many.”