The euro crisis has exposed a range of intra-European problems long hidden from the harsh light of day. Not the least of these is German exceptionalism. Over the last two generations one goal of the European project has been to narrow the differences between Germany and the rest of Europe. But recent economic difficulties have only amplified those dissimilarities.
The contrast between German sentiment today and that of other Europeans could not be more stark, according to a new Pew Research Center survey of eight European Union nations. Germans feel better than others about the economy (by 66 points over the EU median), about their personal finances (by 26 points), about the future (by 12 points), about the European Union (by 17 points), about European economic integration (by 28 points) and about their own leadership (by 48 points). And in some cases - in their attitudes about the economy and about the EU - these differences between German and other European sentiment are growing. Such German exceptionalism may only complicate Europe's efforts to deal with its current troubles because Germans have different concerns, different priorities and favor different solutions.