"There is little doubt that Germany is exerting greater power on the European stage than in the past. The fast-moving crisis has seen the rise of crisis summitry and late-night deals at inter-governmental level where the size of population and economy have a more direct influence on decision-making than was the case in the EU’s traditional, if slower, commission-led decision-making process. But is current German influence part of a long-term strategy to dictate the internal politics and social character of other EU states or a short-term opportunity? An imperial play or an economic and political accident? (...) The German hegemony argument tends to overlook how much ground Berlin has already conceded. Initial Berlin resistance to bailouts gave way to conditional aid and then agreement to break the link between sovereign and private debt and to allowing bank recapitalisations from the ESM bailout fund. (...) The idea of German hegemony overlooks how Berlin enjoys varying levels of support in the crisis from Finland, the Netherlands and Austria. Regular backing has come, too, from Sweden, Poland and Denmark -- admittedly none of which are euro zone members. (...) Berlin officials know that the window for austerity may be closing. Far from hegemonic ambitions, their crisis ambition has been to secure as much sugar as possible to coat the bitter pill of mutual liability German voters will eventually have to swallow to preserve the euro zone."
Derek Scally, "Germany would have much to lose from euro zone failure" (The Irish Times [online], 5.5.2013).