“Germany in the EU after Merkel: a view from the Netherlands”, Luuk Molthof and Martijn Haas (Clingendael Institute, The Netherlands)

Germany is not only the Netherlands’ most important neighbour and trading partner but also its most important ally in the EU. The Hague’s close relationship with Berlin has allowed the Netherlands to punch above its weight in European politics. The two countries traditionally share similar views on economic, financial and monetary matters, committed to fiscal prudence, budget discipline and a rules-based approach to the Economic and Monetary Union. During the 2010 eurozone crisis, the two partners worked closely to shape the European response, promoting austerity measures and structural reforms. The Dutch government not only relies heavily on its German counterpart to represent its (frugal) interests during these years. It also counts on the latter – and some of its key figures, such as former finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble – to take most of the political heat.

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