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With a month left to run before general elections in Germany, De Groene Amsterdammer has republished an essay by Timothy Garton Ash, The New German Question, which first appeared in the New York Times Review of Books.

In his consideration of the question of “Europe’s most powerful country” and its potential to “lead the way in building both a sustainable, internationally competitive Eurozone and a strong, internationally credible European Union,” Ash identifies “three crucial areas to watch” —

… economic policy; European institutions to oversee and legitimate that policy; and, last but not least, the poetry to accompany this economic and institutional prose, inspiring Europeans once again to believe in the dream we call Europe.

The British writer and historian goes on to argue that Europe will need a “new institutional architecture” that can only be established in collaboration with all of its member states, and concludes —

Germany therefore needs all the help it can get from its European friends and partners. Only together can we generate the policies and institutions, but also that fresh breeze of poetry, to get the European ship sailing again.