Germany goes to polls focused on cost not value of Europe

European disintegration is far more advanced than closer union ever was

Gen Charles de Gaulle: To survive, Europe needs a return to big politics in the style of the French militarist, and Helmut Kohl, Jacques Delors and François Mitterrand. Photograph: PA Wire

Gen Charles de Gaulle: To survive, Europe needs a return to big politics in the style of the French militarist, and Helmut Kohl, Jacques Delors and François Mitterrand. Photograph: PA Wire

A century ago, in March 1915, the German philosopher Georg Simmel wrote in a Berlin newspaper: “It’s not enough that the idea of Europe doesn’t die, it should live.”

To live, today’s Europe needs big politics in the style of Konrad Adenauer, Gen Charles de Gaulle, Helmut Kohl, Jacques Delors and François Mitterrand. If Angela Merkel harbours any ambition of entering the pantheon of great European leaders, here is a plan for what needs to come – and fast – after Sunday’s federal election.

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