From Follower to Leader
|School||Foreign Service Institute|
|Course||English Language and Literature|
|Keywords||Germany European integration normalization European debt crisis German Question|
The European integration is a long process. After World War II, it opened a newchapter. The European integration has not only ended the history of war and conflictin Europe, but also led to the economic prosperity, political cooperation, socialstability and national integration of Europe, and made Europe an important force onthe world stage.As one of the six founders of the EU, Germany has been a driving force in theEuropean integration. Germany’s relationship with the European integration processhas been of central importance to European politics over the post-war period. Therelationship itself has been transformed over time as both Germany and Europe haveexperienced profound changes. In the Pre-reunification period (1949-1990), Germanywas a voluntary follower of the European integration in order to safeguard its nationalsecurity, restore its full sovereignty and revitalization its economy. From thereunification in1990to2009, Germany was a normalized supporter of the Europeanintegration, pursuing its own national interests during the “Normalization” process.During the European Debt Crisis period from2009till now, Germany has become adecisive leader of the European integration. Given an unprecedented opportunity bythe crisis, Germany began to exert leadership in Europe through leading the crisissaving mechanisms and economic governance reforms.After a relatively detailed and objective study of the relationship betweenGermany and the European integration after WWII, the author has come to theconclusion that European integration will proceed by zigzag, with Germany as itsleader. The European debt crisis has brought both opportunities and challenges to theEuropean integration, in which Germany must exert “Smart Leadership”.