Berlin’s new activism

Germany is taking advantage of its robust economic health to firm up its presence on the international stage. However, trade is the engine of a diplomacy that still fears embracing military interventions, a stance which remains popular with the German public.

Another illustration of the German approach: relations with the United States, which extend well beyond the merely economic. Germany’s anchorage in NATO is one of the pillars of German diplomacy. In recent months Berlin has managed use its privileged ties with Washington to rekindle in dramatic fashion the negotiation of a Free Trade Treaty between the European Union and the United States. Visiting Berlin on February 1, American Vice-President Joe Biden gave the green light from the new Obama administration to the initiative. And so, to promote German industry, Angela Merkel has not hesitated to bypass the European Commission, which is responsible for the negotiation, and to start a new dispute with France, which is much more cautious about a free-trade agreement. Nor has Merkel hesitated to turn her back on multilateralism, the cornerstone of German diplomacy. Continue reading