Germany: world export champion in crisis

The success of Germany's economic model in recent decades was based on its interconnectedness with the global economy, with around 30 percent of its profits coming from exports. But the pandemic and the Ukraine war are highlighting the risks posed by fragile supply chains and dependence on autocratic regimes. What does this mean for Europe?

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Der Freitag (DE) /

Recovery only with more euro democracy

Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis offers Germans some advice in Freitag:

“Quit mourning. Cut through the denial, anger, bargaining, and depression, and start designing a new economic model. … But first, you must resolve a critical political dilemma: Do you want Germany to retain political and fiscal sovereignty? If so, your new model will never work within this eurozone of ours. If you do not want to go back to the Deutsche Mark, you need a model embedded within a full-fledged, democratic European federation. Anything else will continue the Big Lie with which you are now painfully coming to terms.”

Les Echos (FR) /

Reorientation a boon for the EU

Germany's need to reorient its economy will facilitate advances for the EU as a whole, Les Echos writes in delight:

“Germans now accept the start of a European industrial policy, the emergence of European market leaders, subsidies to build up industries that are essential for our sovereignty, and protective measures for the internal market that they had previously rejected for fear of closing off their own markets. Germany is known for its resilience and its ability to reinvent itself. It will come back stronger. But what is important is that it comes back with less egotism and with more realistic views.” (PL) /

Beware of the weak neighbour

wPolityce fears Germany's crisis will have a negative impact on Poland:

“Germany has recorded a negative foreign trade balance for the first time since its unification. So by its own standards the country is showing signs of weakness. ... The experience of the last 30 years has shown that when Germany weakens, it recovers at the expense of others. This includes passing on the costs of its policies to others. ... Consequently we must be wary of Germany when it is in difficulties and at the same time points to solutions: for these are always to Germany's benefit and never to the benefit of its neighbours.”

Expresso (PT) /

German neo-colonialism

For journalist Daniel Oliveira the EU's gas emergency plan is further proof that Germany is defining EU policy at will, as it did during the euro crisis. In Expresso he comments:

“In 2011 we paid for our weaknesses, in 2022 we will gain nothing from our advantages. ... We accept a subordination that turned us into beggars vis-à-vis Germany in 2011 and passive taxpayers vis-à-vis Germany in 2022. We tell ourselves that if we defend our interests we are nationalists. But Germans are only pro-European when it suits their own interests. What makes the European project the opposite of a union among equals and more reminiscent of a colonial relationship is the certainty that different moral rules apply for its states.”