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Europe's reputation stands and falls with its attitude towards bureaucracy. One regulation gone wrong, and we're back to bendy bananas and the Eurocrats grimly destroying the freedom of countries with their rulers. Or such is the British perspective. For Germans the opposite is true. The European idea has always been seen as a way out of trouble: a gateway out of the small-mindedness associated with domestic bureaucracy, a path to more freedom, not less. 

Perhaps unexpectedly, bureaucracy is something of a pet hate for Germans: we love our lives to be structured and organised, but we're also afraid of Kafkaesque tendencies, where order doesn't make life easier, but leans towards the downright sinister.

A recent example of such bureaucracy are the arrangements for the trial in Munich of Beate Zschäpe and four other members of the National Socialist Underground, a neo-Nazi terror cell, accused of killing nine men, eight of them of Turkish descent, between 2000 and 2006. 

Germany and Turkey have had a complicated relationship, especially since Angela Merkel voiced her opposition to Turkey joining the EU. The German coalition is divided: the centre-Right wants to limit the relationship to what it calls a privileged partnership, whereas both liberal and social democratic voices are in favour of full accession. 

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