June 20, 2024

Dependency – what does it mean and where does it exist?

The concept of subsidiarity has recently found its way more and more into political discussions. Whether it is the German economy’s dependence on exports, Europe’s military dependence on the United States, and, last but not least, the Germans’ dependence on Russian gas – these dependencies appear to be ubiquitous at the political level, and at the same time difficult to resolve.

Dependencies only become a problem when relations between countries are reshaped or when seemingly unexpected events suddenly disrupt trade flows. But how exactly can dependencies be identified, when do they exist and when do they become a problem? In this study, we will address the concept of dependency by proposing a broad definition that includes political dependencies in addition to geoeconomic dependencies. The results show that although German economic dependencies may be low in international comparison, there are significant dependencies on mineral fuels and raw materials. In addition, reliance on certain countries can be more problematic than others, so there are also qualitative differences. In addition, there are stages in which some dependencies become problematic due to the emergence of conflicts between countries and the use of economic dependencies as a means of political pressure. Politically, Germany has become deliberately dependent on other EU member states and the USA and faces significant challenges in climate protection due to international interconnectedness.