Err, no, thanks but no.

Germany, therefore, should overcome its reluctance to lead on economic issues just when leadership is both needed and wanted. In order to succeed, however, it is not enough to lead by storming ahead, leaving others behind. Arrogance or even schadenfreude would be self-defeating for Berlin. Rather, Germany must set an example and inspire others to follow. This requires continuous and constructive engagement with partner countries and the EU institutions in order to build consensus around a sustainable future for the eurozone. That way, German economic leadership may eventually become as acceptable a part of Europe\’s political and emotional fabric as France\’s leadership in the field of international affairs – and we would all be better off for it.

We\’ve been asked before if we\’d like to become more German. Twice. And the answer was a rather vehement, violent even, no. Twice.

11 comments on “Err, no, thanks but no.

  1. “France’s leadership in the field of international affairs”

    I must have missed that one – America, China et al beating a path to France’s door.

    The real thing with this gentleman is his total blanking of the possibility of democracy. It’s not up to Germany or any other country to lead, it’s up to people to be voted to do so – a concept that so much of the EU seems allergic to.

  2. “France’s leadership in the field of international affairs”

    I must have missed that one

    I think it was more true historically than it is now. France used to play a fairly heavy role in diplomacy: France was the a location for lots of treaty signings, treaties were signed in French, French diplomats did a lot of the behind-the-scenes negotiations.

    As I say, I think it is less the case nowadays, but vestiges are seen in, for example, the French domination of certain international organisations, such as the IMF.

  3. The wars are what happened the two times we said ‘no’. Every other time we’ve said ‘yes’ and then gone Frenchie-hunting with our favourite allies.

    The two World Wars were an unfortunate anomaly. The English and Germans have been allied against the French for well over two thousand years.

  4. “The English and Germans have been allied against the French for well over two thousand years.”

    What’s not to like? Although not really true either as Germany as a nation didn’t really exist until 1870.

  5. John>

    France as we know it didn’t exist all that long before 1870 either. In both cases, the various administrative changes aren’t really important, because it was the people who were consistently our allies, rather than some particular country.

  6. The people?

    Yes, some sod on a farm in Prussia was closely allied with sods on farms in Norfolk for the last 2 millennia. Countries were basically remote structures imposed on the people by some kind of dictator/oligarchy, ranging from the benign to the highly malignant, something in which the people had no say but for which they had to lay down their lives when demanded to fight some other yokel in the name of glorifying whichever tyrant won the latest war.

  7. James>

    I can’t say I disagree with the way you put things. Even so, the two millennia of alliance remain. Something must be responsible. Call it a cultural thing if you prefer that terminology: I’m struggling to put it any better than some sort of shared attitude amongst many generations of vaguely related people..

  8. “This requires continuous and constructive engagement with partner countries and the EU institutions in order to build consensus around a sustainable future for the eurozone”

    Classic Guardianbollocks.

  9. @Rob – Sounds Familiar

    Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, taking into consideration the agreement, which has been already reached in principle for the cession to Germany of the Sudeten German territory, have agreed on the following terms and conditions governing the said cession and the measures consequent thereon, and by this agreement they each hold themselves responsible for the steps necessary to secure its fulfilment:
    1. The evacuation will begin on 1st October.
    2. The United Kingdom, France and Italy agree that the evacuation of the territory shall be completed by 10th October, without any existing installations having been destroyed and that the Czechoslovak Government will be held responsible for carrying out the evacuation without damage to the said installations.
    3. The conditions governing the evacuation will be laid down in detail by an international commission composed of representatives of Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Czechoslovakia.
    4. The occupation by stages of the predominantly German territory by German troops will begin on 1st October. The four territories marked on the attached map will be occupied by German troops in the following order: the territory marked No. I on the 1st and 2nd October, the territory marked No. II on the 2nd and 3rd October; the territory marked No. III on the 3rd, 4th and 5th October; the territory marked No. IV on the 6th and 7th October. The remaining territory of preponderatingly German character will be ascertained by the aforesaid international commission forthwith and be occupied by German troops by the 10th October.
    5. The international commission referred to in paragraph 3 will determine the territories in which a plebiscite is to be held. These territories will be occupied by international bodies until the plebiscite has been completed. The same commission will fix the conditions in which the plebiscite is to be held, taking as a basis the conditions of the Saar plebiscite. The commission will also fix a date, not later that the end of November, on which the plebiscite will be held.
    6. The final determination of the frontier will be carried out by the international commission. This commission will also be entitled to recommend to the four Powers, Germany, the United Kingdom, France and Italy, in certain exceptional cases minor modifications in the strictly ethnographical determination of the zones which are to be transferred without plebiscite.
    7. There will be a right of option into and out of the transferred territories, the option to be exercised within six months from the date of this agreement. A German-Czechoslovak commission shall determine the details of the option, consider ways of facilitating the transfer of population and settle questions of principle arising out of the said transfer.
    8. The Czechoslovak Government will, within a period of four weeks from the date of this agreement, release from their military and police forces any Sudeten Germans who may wish to be released, and the Czechoslovak Government will within the same period release Sudeten German prisoners who are serving terms of imprisonment for political offences.
    Adolf Hitler
    Neville Chamberlain
    Edouard Daladier
    Benito Mussolini
    Munich, September 29, 1938

  10. As England is rapidly becoming non English in reality as are other EU countries maybe a reality check should be in rder.

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