For a long time Europe, and especially Germany, were considered shining examples around the world. But the EU fails miserably in the virus crisis. That should be a lesson to us. The nation state is still needed. A comment by Merkur editor-in-chief Georg Anastasiadis.
It was only a few months ago that the Germans watched the disturbing images of the corona pandemic in Trump’s America on the evening news. Over all the sorrows of this dark time, the German citizens consoled their firm belief that they can fortunately do better than others. All the more sobering that now the US President – and it’s not Trump! – warns his compatriots about European conditions: “Please do not let what happens in Europe as you see it on television happen.”
It’s a kind of culture shock: The Europeans, and in the middle of it all, the self-confident Germans who looked so condescendingly on Johnson’s Britain, Trump’s America and the Asians, experience a moment of brutal self-awareness. While elsewhere people are being vaccinated like hell, people are regaining their optimism and the economic curve is pointing upwards, Europe is stuck in a tunnel. Our elites were so proud of Brussels and the overcoming of the nation-state. It’s true: the EU is a fascinating peace project that the world envies us for. But in situations where quick, resolute action is required, the nation state – if well governed – still proves to be an indispensable actor. Its abolition in an “ever closer union”, of which many in this country dream, must never become a German national goal.
We have to do our homework ourselves instead of delegating it to Brussels along with political responsibility. If Germany understands the virus catastrophe as a wake-up call, if it is redesigned instead of just moderated, if it overcomes its satiety, bureaucracy and the digital opposition to progress, it can emerge stronger from the crisis – as, according to Kohl, when it was first the shock of mass unemployment national feat of agenda policy made possible.
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