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Florian Berlin

Demography will seal Germany’s oblivion – unless it acts now

For Germans, the future does not look very bright, at least from a demographic point-of-view. Our population will shrink from a current 82 million to 65 million by 2060. At the same time, the EU’s population will increase to a total of 516 million people by 2060. However, compared to China’s 1.4 billion people, and India’s 1.6 billion people, even this number is not very impressive.The size of our population is very important as it impacts economic and military capabilities, therefore, directly controlling the amount of influence we can exert on the global stage. Additionally, as globalization intensifies, an increasing number of affairs will be dealt with not on a national, but on a global stage.In order to protect and pursue German foreign interest, we need to intensify and finalize the process of European integration. Germany will need to integrate national interest into a European framework, because we will lack the weight and significance to pursue them on our own on the global stage in 2060.    The Lisbon treaty undertook an important step towards further European integration: the upgrade of the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP). The new position of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy will give Europe its first de facto foreign minister. Furthermore, the High Representative will receive the European External Action Service (EEAS), which will function as the Union’s diplomatic service with EU embassies all over the world. Because Germans do not seem to be able to change their demographic decline, it is well advised to utilize European institutions like the EEAS to secure German influence in Europe and in the world, and the current set up of the EEAS is the ideal place to implement German ideas and principles in order to shape the future form of the Action Service.As… Read More

A German perspective on European integration

Established in 1951, the European Coal and Steel Union was not only the start of a supranational organization regulating the coal and steel markets, but also the initiation of a process in European integration. During the decades following, European integration operated based on the spill-over effect: in which the economic integration intensified leading to a single market, while competencies were increasingly transferred to the European Union (and its preceding organizations). This process of deeper integration without the formulation of a final goal and form of the European Union continues up until today. Even though the Treaty of Lisbon has improved the democratic legitimation of the EU, and strengthened its ability to function internally as well as externally, it has avoided answering the question of the finality of the European integration process. This failure may have severe repercussions as the EU struggles to deal with the effects of the recent recession.Today, we are faced with a quasi-insolvent Greece, a debt-ridden Ireland, a heavily unemployed Spain and financial markets are testing the vitality of several other European countries. On top of that, we are on the brink of a second financial crisis with insufficiently-funded banks and liquidity problems across Europe.The EU, international organizations and national leaders have been trying to solve the crisis in order to bring back growth, stability and prosperity to Europe. A variety of measures have been implemented and utilized in order to reach that goal; including, amongst others, austerity measures, debt restructuring, bank nationalization and the establishment of the European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF), which will provide liquidity to indebted countries, which no longer have access to the money markets.Nevertheless, markets have been very critical of the aforementioned solutions, questioning their sustainability. Bond yields have remained very high, and the liquidity situation on the money markets has even worsened.Currently,… Read More