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Germany: Looking In, Looking Out, the IIEA’s latest publication, analyses German policy responses to the internal and external challenges facing Germany today.

Germany has emerged as a leader in the EU and its Chancellor, Angela Merkel, was recently dubbed the ‘indispensable European’ by The Economist. Germany is therefore an important strategic partner for Ireland and the two countries have enjoyed positive relations spanning centuries. Understanding Germany beyond the headlines, how it functions and what motivates its population and political classes, is important for Irish people and Irish policy makers.

There are many factors that inform German policy positions at domestic and EU level, which are examined in this report. For example, the German constitutional and federal structure have a profound impact on Germany’s EU policy in relation to outright monetary transactions (OMT) in EMU. Domestic challenges facing the government include the rise of the right (in the form of political parties such as AfD and PEGIDA), which has given a voice to a xenophobic, anti-EU discourse. Demographic change and an ageing population are creating an asymmetry in the German economy, which influence its position in relation to refugee and integration policy. While there has been a severe crisis in the periphery of the Eurozone, the German economy has performed well in recent years. However, its economic model is not immune from challenges and this report also maps out these challenges.

Germany’s defence policy and its alliances with partners at EU level bridge the gap between Germany looking in and looking out. In relation to the latter the report demonstrates how Germany has also played a strategic role in EU-Russia, EU-China relations as well as relations with the US.

From an Irish perspective, the manner in which Germany responds to its domestic challenges, as well as how it adapts to its role within the EU, will continue to impact Ireland directly and indirectly. This report strikes a rich vein in terms of understanding the motivations which underlie the politics and policies of Germany. A deeper examination of these motivations can lead to a greater understanding of this strategic partner for Ireland. The essays in this new IIEA report are a contribution to this.

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