Demons, ants, giants and dwarves: the construction of Germany’s handling of the Euro-crisis in French political discourse

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Abstract

Since the beginning of the Euro crisis in 2009 a succession of one “last chance” meeting after another has exposed deep rifts over the policies to implement in order to ensure the permanence of the Euro. From austerity measures to curb swelling public deficits put forward by Germany to European growth plans and solidarity mechanisms suggested by France disagreements have been deep and infighting widespread. The agreement of a new European treaty creating a tight fiscal pact, at the European Summit on 7 December 2011, brought these tensions to the fore, leading to a barrage of criticisms in France against Germany imposing its austerity agenda on the whole Eurozone. This article seeks to analyse how Germany has been portrayed in the French political discourse by focusing on the vast array of reactions to this new treaty. It will show a discursive struggle between three discourse types representing Germany as an evil force intent on dominating Europe, a virtuous ant unwittingly dominating Europe and an economic giant but a political dwarf. These discourses will show how Germany is trapped into past representations and how they reveal far more about France’s self-image in relation to its neighbour than about Germany itself.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-23
JournalJournal of Contemporary European Studies
Volume22
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 May 2014

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