"Germany, like other rich, polluting, and aging countries, faces enormous long-term challenges. Its work force is shrinking, its energy sector needs to be remade, and its public infrastructure has gone too long without improvement. For all the talk of its financial strength, Germany has so far squandered the opportunity to secure long-term economic growth by addressing these challenges through badly needed domestic investments.
The financial conditions for such spending have never been more favorable: interest rates for public borrowing are approaching zero. And yet due to a 2009 constitutional amendment requiring both the federal and the state governments to maintain balanced budgets, the German public sector has denied itself the opportunity to borrow and invest. To make matters worse, rather than try to extricate itself from this self-inflicted trap, Berlin is insisting that the eurozone as a whole adopt this model, in the form of the European fiscal compact, a treaty that will mandate balanced budgets across the continent. That Germany is seeking to fashion the rest of Europe in its own image makes it all the more urgent to understand the fault lines that underlie its economic model."
Adam Tooze, Foreign Affairs