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Thriving economy puts Germany in Europe's driving seat

17 September 2013 Last updated at 18:55 BST

Germany's economy is thriving. It is one of the world's biggest exporters, unemployment is less than half the European average, its books are balanced and its national debt, which leapt up when the financial crisis hit, is now falling.

All of this has put Germany in the driving seat of Europe, but as Allan Little has been finding out for BBC Newsnight it is not clear that it wants to drive. In a memorable phrase coined by Britain's Economist magazine Germany has been described as Europe's "reluctant hegemon".