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On 22 September, Germany - a country that went from being known as the 'sick man of Europe' to becoming its powerhouse less than a decade later - elected a new parliament. It is already certain that Angela Merkel, whose personality is as austere as her policies, will remain Chancellor. But does the Merkel Method alone explain the lack of real political debate in Germany? What is really behind this 'second German miracle', and aren't there already signs that it might soon be over? Why is there so much hidden tension in German society? And why didn't European matters have a larger place in the campaign, given that the Germans have, nolens volens, taken the lead in Europe?

To answer these questions - and ask many more - here is a selection of our best articles, past and present, on Germany.


A new German government: but what about that new German politics for Europe?

After months of campaigning, leading to an election, followed by weeks of negotiation, the German Social Democrats and Merkel's CDU/CSU have finally agreed to form a grand coalition. But can this coalition hold? And how will it affect Europe?

The rise of the German monster

Merkel’s next grand coalition risks fuelling German right-wing populism like never before.

Schwarzwohnen: The spatial politics of squatting in East Berlin

East Berlin's squatter movement erupted across the city after the fall of the wall in 1989. But what role did housing activists in the 1980s play in shaping an alternative vision for the contemporary city?

German-Russian business cooperation: what consequences for eastern Europe?

Germany's trade policies towards Russia, notably on the issue of natural gas, have contributed to re-shaping the eastern European geo-economic landscape. Could Ukraine become a hostage of Berlin's recent Ostpolitik should tensions between Moscow and Kiev rise further?

Black-Red, Black-Green? German party coalitions and the new left majority

Angela Merkel might have won the last German elections, but she now needs a new coalition partner. So who will it be? Coalitions can be formed willingly by intentional partners, or they can emerge out of necessity, forced by the reality of the vote.

The German Election: what does it mean for Europe?

As predicted, Sunday’s German federal election resulted in a resounding victory for Angela Merkel. But with growing German euroscepticism and hesitation about the country's future role in the Union, the results for Europe are not yet in.

The chancellor of Europe, re-elected

Strengthened by a clear victory in the ballots, Angela Merkel is unlikely to change her austerity course. In the absence of a strong domestic opposition, it is up to the citizens of Europe to challenge her policies.

Who says the German election is dull?

Barbie, Mutti Merkel and a monstrous personality cult: a campaign diary ahead of the 22 September German election.

“Merkel is a pragmatic European” – an interview with the BBC's Jon Sopel

On 22 September, Germans will go to the polls and decide over the future course of their country and, perhaps, Europe as a whole. BBC presenter Jon Sopel sat down with The European to discuss the election, Angela Merkel’s governing style and rising German Euroskepticism.

Berlin’s ‘system error’ free shop

No money or goods exchanged, just take what you want.

German election: don't forget the Turkish vote(s)!

There are about 3 million German Turks living in Germany. Where does the country's largest immigrant group stand in the upcoming German election?

The German election: what Europe expects - and what Germany will not do

Europeans expect a lot from Germany. But that doesn't necessarily mean European matters will have an impact on the upcoming German election.

Introducing Spotlight on Germany

Our new Spotlight on series tackles a major question: is Germany boring?


Germany's election campaign: Terminally, terminally boring

The German election campaign lacks vision and fresh ideas. This is no accident. It’s the tactical brilliance of Angela Merkel.

A very German myth: feral boys and the conflict between civilization and culture

In the internal exile in which Romanticism has languished in post-war Germany, encounters with feral boys (even those established as shams) have - while they have lasted - once more lit a fire under Romanticism. 

Proud to be German? Football and the fear of nationalism

Though some fans are enthusiastic, even proud of today's multi-ethnic, multi-racial German football teams, taking pride in Germany is troubled by the historic affiliation of nationalism and racism.

Is Germany paying for southern Europe?

Germany is not paying for southern Europe. On the contrary, it benefits from it.

Franco-German cooperation: productive tension

The quest for solutions to the Eurozone crisis has been interspersed by Franco-German controversies. But national differences, which are inevitable in the economic sphere, do not impede vital convergence. Making good use of differences to take Europe forward is the permanent challenge for both countries.

Discouraging developments in the German news media market

The German print media is going through a rough phase, with many newspapers closing and journalists laid off as a result of declining revenus. This structural crisis is having a negative effect on the quality of public debate on essential issues, such as the EU.

'My Turkey': Berlin, immigration and the amateur football scene

Berlin's Turkish football clubs tell the tale of a local struggle for multiculturalism and integration, far away from the politics of migration.

Time horizons of transformation: lessons from the German unification for the eurozone

The harmonisation of national economies inside the eurozone is essentially a clash of time horizons – the future might be bright, but the transformation process in hard-hit countries is painful, and unfair. What lessons should we draw from the historical example of German reunification?

Covert and hidden populism in unified Germany

Why is it that unlike other European countries, Germany has not had a long-lasting populist party. Though some contemporary German parties have ‘populist affinities and tendencies’, these are short-lived tactics used to win votes, and often associated with political scandal.

The aesthetic politics of two decades of techno-movement in France

The political debate around the techno-movement accompanied efforts by the French state to bring raves under state control. The aesthetic effect of these musical events remains a political challenge.

Kanak Attak: discursive acts of citizenship in Germany

Kanak Attak in Germany is an anti-racist collective of people with mixed ethnic backgrounds who aim to turn the dominant discourse on migration upside down. They invite us to consider the role of intellectuals in migration regimes.

The power of Merkiavelli: Angela Merkel’s hesitation in the Euro-crisis

Hesitation as a means of coercion – that is Merkiavelli’s method. Only one fate is worse than being overwhelmed by German money and that is not being overwhelmed by German money. Power grounded in the economy has no need to invade and yet is ubiquitous.

Towards Europia? Germany and the euro crisis

Europe is in the crucial weeks of its epic crisis. The judgment by Germany's constitutional court returns authority to politicians in shaping a solution to the eurozone's troubles. But at a deeper level the contest for Europe's future is also about its social model, cultural resources and democratic capacity, says Ulrike Guerot.

German own goal: why Berlin’s sense of invulnerability will be its undoing

Without a mutualisation of risk, the euro will collapse, with devastating implications for German exports, the value of Germany's foreign investments, and the stability of its banking sector. By contrast, the reforms needed to stabilise the eurozone pose far fewer risks to Germany.

Günter Grass, antisemitism and the inflation of evil

The Israel factor has politicised the business of assessing antisemitism such that the vitriolic disagreement surrounding it has become about far more than just facts, intelligent judgment and expertise. What does Israel, what does anyone gain from this?

Pretzel swastikas and Döner killings: are Germany’s best intentions becoming its fatal flaw?

The importance attached to maintaining the narrative of a tolerant Germany elides some uglier cultural symbolism - as evidenced by the media sensationalism of the 'Döner killings'. It's time for a more productive discussion of prejudice

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