This chapter builds on the discussion of an evolving national confidence among the German public and political class, in particular vis-à-vis their European neighbours. There has been a distinct rise in dissatisfaction towards being in a European Union that perpetuates historical constraints on the Germans while expecting them to finance the enterprise. Where there are difficulties in harmonising domestic and European demands it is likely to result in the former being politically enforced. The leitmotiv of post-war German politics has been die ensuring of social and economic stability. As the transformations of 1989-91 impressed, stability does not equate with permanence. It is better conceived as a combination of factors engendering some sense of surety amongst change, both in the present and as much as can be instilled in prognostications for Germany and Europe. Gary Geipel targeted some premier concerns and indicated the nature and depth of the overall challenge:

If it can create jobs by reducing the excesses of the welfare state, and if it can accept foreigners as an asset rather than a liability, the Germany that emerges from the 1990s may be one that is more humane, more competitive, and ultimately more powerful. Getting to that point, however, will strain the social and political fabric of the Federal Republic to a degree the country has never experienced. 1