“Kaiser Wilhelm had a master plan for Europe…”

The Irish Times reports pointed criticism from former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt of the recent German and French bickering in Europe.  And the report notes some interesting comments from Ulrike Guérot, Berlin head of the European Council on Foreign Relations…

Leading European think tanks were more critical about Mr Schmidt’s “Wilhelmine” remarks. “As much as I see his point, that Germany is being perceived in Europe in a negative way, Kaiser Wilhelm had a master plan for Europe whereas in Berlin at the moment it is government by default,” said Ulrike Guérot, Berlin head of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

“What is not taken into account abroad is that Germany is exhausted and disoriented,” she said. “After decades as the only truly European country, and after carrying the largest share of the European project politically and financially for so long, it has reached the limits of its capabilities in Europe.”

A spokesman for Dr Merkel declined to comment directly, adding that the only monarch in Dr Merkel’s chancellery office was a portrait of Catherine the Great.

“She admires her as a strong woman, not because she shares her political views,” he said, adding hastily “and certainly not the views of the Kaiser.”

Glad to hear it…