Particularly on the international stage, Germany has been accused of weariness with the European project. At times, it is hard to avoid the impression that other European nations measure Germany’s enthusiasm for Europe by the extent to which we are willing to instantly shoulder the burden of various financial rescue packages.
Those harbouring such feelings toward Germany point on the one hand to low growth in German unit labour costs, which is said to be unfair to other European countries, and, on the other hand, to our high trade surpluses, which are touted as proof of how much we have benefited from the euro. We should thus be happy to show a measure of gratitude, the logic goes. Yet both of these perceptions are flawed.