Germany’s Nord Stream Climbdown Should Put Ostpolitik to Rest

Vladimir Putin Angela Merkel
Russian president Vladimir Putin speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Moscow, May 10, 2015 (Kremlin)

Frederick Studemann argues in the Financial Times that Germany’s Ostpolitik breathes its last in the Nord Stream 2 pipeline controversy.

Germany’s allies in Central European and North America have for years argued against the extension of the Baltic Sea pipeline, arguing — correctly — that it is a political project for Moscow. It doesn’t need the extra capacity. It wants to cut its dependence on Russia-wary transit states in Eastern Europe, most notably Ukraine. Read more “Germany’s Nord Stream Climbdown Should Put Ostpolitik to Rest”

Germany’s Merkel Installs Favorite as Successor

Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland attends a session of the Bundesrat in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2015
Prime Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer of Saarland attends a session of the Bundesrat in Berlin, Germany, July 10, 2015 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

Angela Merkel has put Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the former prime minister of Saarland, on track to succeed her as chancellor of Germany.

Kramp-Karrenbauer, a relative moderate, defeated the more right-wing Friedrich Merz with 517 to 482 votes at a congress of their Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in Hamburg. Read more “Germany’s Merkel Installs Favorite as Successor”

Update from the Election to Succeed Angela Merkel

Friedrich Merz
Friedrich Merz, then chairman of the Supervisory Board of BlackRock Germany, attends a bankers conference in Berlin, April 5, 2017 (Bankenverband)

Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) is electing a new leader in December. Angela Merkel ruled out seeking a fourth term after her allies lost state elections in Bavaria and Hesse.

Merkel is staying on as chancellor for now, but her successor at the helm of the CDU will immediately become the favorite to replace her in that position as well.

Here is a summary of the latest news. Read more “Update from the Election to Succeed Angela Merkel”

Eurozone Budget Could Take Years

French president Emmanuel Macron speaks with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24
French president Emmanuel Macron speaks with Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte during a European Council meeting in Brussels, June 24 (Elysée)

The Financial Times reports that Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel have made a “breakthrough” on eurozone reform: the French and German leaders agree the currency union should get its own budget.

The move is good news for the French president, who has long believed that giving the single currency area its own resources will make it more resilient to economic crises.

But it is unlikely to come into being any time soon. Read more “Eurozone Budget Could Take Years”

Everything You Need to Know About Merkel Stepping Down as Party Leader

Angela Merkel
German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Berlin, November 9, 2016 (Bundesregierung)

German chancellor Angela Merkel has announced she will not seek reelection as leader of her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) in December in the wake of disappointing state election results in Bavaria and Hessen.

How will this affect the remainder of her chancellorship? Who could replace her? And what, if anything, does it mean for Europe? Read more “Everything You Need to Know About Merkel Stepping Down as Party Leader”

Hessen State Election Confirms National Political Trends

Frankfurt Germany
Frankfurt, Germany at night (Unsplash/Jonas Tebbe)

Germany’s mainstream political parties both lost support in elections in Hessen on Sunday, a lightly populated state in the center of the country that contains the commercial capital of Frankfurt.

The Christian Democrats went down from 38 to 28 percent support, according to exit polls. The Greens, who have shared power with the right in Hessen since 2013, went up from 11 to 20 percent — a major victory, which will probably make it possible for the two parties to continue their coalition government.

The Social Democrats, who govern with the Christian Democrats nationally, suffered yet another historic defeat. Their support fell from 31 to 20 percent, their worst result in Hessen ever. Read more “Hessen State Election Confirms National Political Trends”

Takeaways from the Bavaria State Election

Munich Germany
Marienplatz and Munich City Hall, Germany at night (Shutterstock)

Readers of the Atlantic Sentinel will know by now that most English-language media have a tendency to sensationalize challenges to Angela Merkel’s leadership in Germany. That’s how the collapse of the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria is being reported as well.

Support for Merkel’s conservative allies, who have governed Bavaria uninterrupted since 1957, fell to an historic low of 37.2 percent in the state election on Sunday.

But it’s not all about the chancellor. Read more “Takeaways from the Bavaria State Election”

Christian Democratic Lawmakers Rebel Against Merkel

German chancellor Angela Merkel addresses parliament in Berlin, September 14, 2012
German chancellor Angela Merkel addresses parliament in Berlin, September 14, 2012 (Bundesregierung/Guido Bergmann)

Christian Democratic (CDU) lawmakers in Germany have rebelled against Chancellor Angela Merkel by picking a relatively unknown as their group leader.

Volker Kauder, a close Merkel ally who had led the CDU in the Bundestag for thirteen years, lost in a secret ballot to Ralph Brinkhaus, his deputy. The vote was 112 to 125.

The Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports that party leaders did not see the revolt coming. Bild calls it a “spectacular defeat” for Merkel. Die Welt argues that her authority has been “badly damaged”. Read more “Christian Democratic Lawmakers Rebel Against Merkel”

How to Interpret the Collapse of Bavaria’s Christian Democrats?

Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with his counterpart from Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, in Berlin, October 10, 2014
Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with his counterpart from Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, in Berlin, October 10, 2014 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

How much of a cautionary tale is the center-right’s collapse in Bavaria?

The Christian Social Union (CSU), which allies with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats nationally, is down from nearly 48 percent support in the last state election to 35-37 percent in recent polls. The far-right Alternative for Germany is up from 4 to 11-13 percent. Read more “How to Interpret the Collapse of Bavaria’s Christian Democrats?”

Merkel Breaks with German Tradition in Seeking EU’s Top Job

German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Berlin, November 9, 2016
German chancellor Angela Merkel delivers a news conference in Berlin, November 9, 2016 (Bundesregierung)

Angela Merkel has broken with German tradition by endorsing a fellow German for the EU’s top job: the presidency of the European Commission.

Merkel supports Manfred Weber, the group leader of the European People’s Party (EPP), as Spitzenkandidat for the European Parliament elections in 2019.

Given that the EPP is, and will most likely remain, the largest bloc, Weber’s election is almost a foregone conclusion. Read more “Merkel Breaks with German Tradition in Seeking EU’s Top Job”