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Germany’s withdrawal symptoms

Angela Merkel faces a tough test as Germany goes to the polls. The country seems more inward-looking and nationalistic since the euro crisis. But this shift is both more subtle and not as recent as it appears

By Hans Kundnani   July 2010

Germany feels misunderstood. It has come under increasing criticism since the extent of Greece’s budget deficit became clear earlier this year. Chancellor Merkel’s initial reluctance to bail out Greece, and subsequent insistence on tough rescue terms, made it seem that Germany was putting its interests before Europe’s.

In Berlin, however, you hear a different view: the Greeks broke the rules agreed when the euro was created, and changing those rules now will damage the currency in the long term. In many of the conversations I have had with German politicians and officials, a defensive tone quickly emerges. They suggest, without…

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