The Economist scolds Germany for reluctance to lead

BERLIN (AFP) - British news weekly The Economist hit out at Germany on Friday for seeing itself as a neutral and prosperous "big Switzerland" and failing to assume its responsibility towards Europe as a whole.

Under the headline The Reluctant Hegemon, the magazine in its latest edition examines Berlin's role during the euro zone crisis and draws the conclusion that "unless Germany stirs itself, the continent's economy - and its politics - will get worse".

The Germans are unaware of their political responsibility as Europe's biggest economy, editor Zanny Minton Beddoes said at a presentation in Berlin.

She urged the economic powerhouse to "move to a big country mentality" and to do more to kickstart the European economy, including by stimulating public and private investment in Germany.

Berlin's role is all the more important because "Britain is absent, France is weak", she said.

In 1999, The Economist dubbed Germany "the sick man of Europe", a description often cited to describe the state of the economy at the time and highlight its progress since.