Sunday, December 14, 2008

Merkel Consults, Sarkozy Exhorts

Angel Merkel and her Vice-Chancellor Frank-Walter Steinmeier are consulting with industry, union, and bank leaders about what to do about the economic crisis. Consultation does not go without exhortation: "It is essential that we accept collective responsibility," Merkel said. But unlike in France, exhortation and consultation are firmly associated, and the government neither wants to take care of everything nor assumes that it could even if it wanted to. The differences between Sarkozy's approach to the crisis and Merkel's thus go beyond cosmetics and atmospherics. They reflect fundamentally different approaches to governing.