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Bavaria First: How a provincial party is tearing Germany and Europe apart

Philipp Liesenhoff

German Council on Foreign Relations

Philipp Liesenhoff is an Associate Fellow with the Globalization and World Economy Program of the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) in Berlin, where he works on Germany’s economic and foreign policy, Eurozone integration, and transatlantic economic relations. An economist by training, he worked as a research assistant at the German Marshall Fund between 2014 and 2017 and has previous work experience at the German Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federation of German Industries, and the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). He is an AICGS/GMF Fellow with the American-German Situation Room.

He holds a master’s degree in International Economics from the University of Bayreuth and received his bachelor’s degree in Governance and Public Policy from the University of Passau. He is completing his PhD in economics and was a visiting scholar at the School of Advanced International Affairs (SAIS) at Johns Hopkins University in Washington, DC, in 2016/17.

He is a 2018-2019 participant in AICGS’ project “A German-American Dialogue of the Next Generation: Global Responsibility, Joint Engagement,” sponsored by the Transatlantik-Programm der Bundesrepublik Deutschland aus Mitteln des European Recovery Program (ERP) des Bundesministeriums für Wirtschaft und Energie (BMWi).

When most Americans think about Germany, they really think about Bavaria. Lederhosen, beer, pretzels, beautiful mountain landscapes and the Disney-esque castle Neuschwanstein have little to do with any of the other 15 German states. But Bavaria’s culture is not only an external marketing success. Its political tribalism has evolved into a serious threat for German politics and European unity. In an unprecedented escalation over Germany’s migration policy, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s exclusively Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), is undermining a European solution and has destabilized the government. For Germany, it would be best if Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the CSU separated.

Read the full article at The Washington Post.

This article was originally published in The Washington Post’s Global Opinions section on July 11, 2018.

The views expressed are those of the author(s) alone. They do not necessarily reflect the views of the American-German Institute.