Die Zeit’s Bernd Ulrich calls it “his fourth act of patriotism”: Gerhard Schröder’s decision to seek new elections for Germany’s lower chamber of parliament (the other three being: German participation in NATO’s Kosovo war, Schröder’s refusal to take part in the Iraq war, and the belated, but much needed, reform of the German economy known as Agenda 2010). There is, says Ulrich, a simple logic behind it: The government has to go, in order to allow the Agenda to continue. And whatever the outcome of the election, two things are clear: the Greens will not be in the next government, and neither will Schröder. Ulrich is probably right on all these accounts.
What is interesting, is that there are many parallels between Schröder’s political problems in Germany and those of the EU as a whole: In both cases, economic and social reform is badly needed. In both cases, the reform process has stalled. And in both cases, the main cause is a constitutional arrangement that is very similar.
So here is part one: Can German federalism teach us something for the debate on the EU’s constitutional future? The topic of part two will be: Does Swiss economist Bruno Frey have the solution? (more…)