Leadership Skills, Style of Power and Influence over Regional Policies of Germany in the Post-Crisis Europe (2012-2015)

Valerio Alfonso Bruno, Giacomo Finzi

Abstract

Since the Eurozone crisis, scholars framed dierent interpretations about the power role of Germany in Europe, pointing at the possible return of the “German question”. Recently, with the “Brexit”, the populist tensions within the EU and the election of Trump as US president, Germany on the contrary, was regarded as the last bastion of the liberal order by Western media. Starting from the premise that with the global economic crisis Germany acquired a supremacy position in Europe “by default”, we proceed by confuting the idea of Germany as a coercive hegemon, without falling into idealistic interpretations. To do so, we define an analytical framework distinguishing leadership and hegemony and insisting on the importance of the context of permanent multi-level crisis in Europe. The argument we advance is that between 2012 and 2015 Germany played a positive power role in Europe, exhibiting appreciable leadership skills, vast regional influence and, first of all, a style of power closer to a benign multilateral leadership than to a coercive unilateral hegemony. The empirical research is based on three case studies from dierent policy areas, the Banking Union (2012-2013), the European migration crisis (2014-2015) and the Russia-Ukraine conflict (2014-2015).

Keywords

Germany; Regional Power; Europe; Leadership; Crisis

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