Perhaps the most scary thing about all the talk of Germany leaving the EU is that Germany is the ballast of the whole system. If the strongest, most stable country wants out. So who would want in?
And it’s not just the old timers who remember the bad old days of hyperinflation.
It’s the young too.
The Guardian Kate Connolly surveys sentiment at the hip Republik* bar in Berlin:
On the pavement outside the bar, drawing on a cigarette, Pamela Schreiber pauses in contemplation. “Do I consider myself European? Well, of course, but first and foremost I’m a German,” says the 33-year-old set designer with conviction.
The answer is not one that you would have expected a few years ago from a young person in Germany. This is the country where European enthusiasm has been easiest to find and where, since the war, European interests have taken precedence over nationalist ones. But, according to Schreiber, Germans feel increasingly torn over Europe.
“We always knew in our heart of hearts that the euro would never be as solid as our deutschmark, but we gave up our beloved currency, which was actually central to our identity, because we believed in the European project so fervently,” she says.
Elsewhere, comedians make jokes about Greeks getting to order and restaurant and waiters bringing Germans the bill.
The thing to bear in mind is that two years ago, when the euro was soaring, this was not the sentiment, so things ebb and flow with the markets, and right now the market is not very positive on the euro. But this isn’t necessarily the final story, and sentiment could change if and when things rebound.
Still it’s interesting that euro-scepticism has pervaded multiple facets of German culture.
*As described in the article, the bar Republik sounds a lot like the Exchange Bar in Manhattan, where attendees bid on drinks in a faux stock-market like environment.
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