The image of being at the helm of Europe, which Germany has held for many years, is now overshadowed by numbers provided by the country's economy ministry upon the request of the Green Party. As the German news outlet Handelsblatt reports, 74 cases have been opened against the largest EU economy for breaking the union's regulations. This is 20% more than Germany faced in 2013, when the new coalition government with the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Socialist Party of Germany began its term.
Worst among the offenders is the transportation ministry, which was under the leadership of Alexander Dobrindt, a member of the Bavarian Christian Social Union, sister party with Merkel's CDU. Under his leadership, 20 cases were opened by the EU. Dobrindt has been known for his independent position on several questions, which has led to clashes with Brussels. The environment ministry came in as the second worst offender, with 16 suits (for air pollution and problems with drinking water), while the finance ministry racked up 11.
German federalism is also to blame, as some of the cases are against the actions of local state governments. While questionable decisions are made independently by local authorities, the whole country bears the burden.
The results have been criticized by the German Green Party. The Green politician Markus Tressel said to local media "The coming government should take the EU restrictions more seriously and set an example for the other EU members in environmental protection and health care."
Meanwhile, the economy ministry emphasizes that all the alleged wrongdoings are yet to be established by the European Court. According to the ministry, only 12 out of the 74 will reach the highest European instance, and its decisions aren't always in favor of the EU.
The ministry also states that the number of disputes has dropped from the 91 registered in 2016, although it's still higher than during the period 2012 to 2014.