European post-war security, the Cold War and the rhetoric surrounding its announcement provided the necessary political framework, but the economics of the Marshall Plan was fundamentally about a country with a huge current account surplus providing funds to countries with high growth potential and limited access to international capital markets. The funds were provided conditioned on the recipient countries agreeing on democratic institutional reconstruction, free trade and international co-operation which, incidentally, led to the creation of the Common Market and to economic prosperity.
Is Germany now going to act as the US did in 1947? After all, Germany has a huge current account surplus and a few countries in Europe are struggling with large external deficits. And European integration needs to be enhanced - through a credible and long standing rescue of the euro, and the reestablishment of growth in the worse affected areas of the currency union.
Be sure that peripheral countries such as Greece and Portugal are ready to respond to more stringent fiscal rules. After all, that was why governments there joined the euro: to get the strength to fight internal pressures for more spending. But peripheral governments also need to deliver growth – and that’s where Germany (and France) needs to step in.