On Tuesday, April 17, 2019, Jeremy Cliffe, Berlin bureau chief of The Economist, visited Frankfurt School of Finance & Management to present the current special report of the magazine on “Cool Germany”. Kai Simon Lang, head of FS Economy & Politics, the Frankfurt School student initiative that had organised the evening, welcomed the guests and the speaker.
Jeremy Cliffe, who had worked on the report for several months, sketched out the main components of his reporting, starting with a portrait of Germany in the 90ies: A sheltered, conservative and homogenous society of egalitarians, with companies that focus on slights improvements of products that have been honed over years, sometimes centuries.
Since then, Jeremy Cliffe argued, Germany had entered a process of normalisation in politics, society, foreign relations, the economy and so on, resulting in a more fluid, open and divided country. Politics were becoming more and more fragmented and less consensus-oriented. New economic divides threatened to fracture society. The German economy was doing well but things were changing and becoming more disruptive, he urged German industry leaders to prepare for this and be faster in adapting to new trends.
“Despite of these challenges, The Economist has a positive view of Germany and future developments”, the bureau chief stressed. “Germany has a strong track record in managing enormous challenges such as the reunification process, and reforming from the sick man of the euro to a European economic power house through introducing important reforms.”
The Economist believed in the advantages of open societies and was therefore optimistic looking at Germany’s future, Jeremy Cliffe said. He even found a positive side to the new presence of a right-wing party in the German parliament – politicians would have to work harder in defending and promoting their beliefs in plural and open society. The public debate would profit from this and thus strengthen the democratic kit of the nation.
After the talk Andreas Horchler, Head of Frankfurt School’s Corporate Communications, invited the audience to ask questions. The students were keen to know more about the journalist’s personal impressions of Germany, his view on the changing political landscape and the post-Merkel era but also on his work on the special report.