What the outcome means for Europe

After the German elections several foreign heads of state and government congratulated Chancellor Merkel on her conservatives' victory and stressed their willingness to cooperate. But in view of the changes in Germany's domestic political situation commentators express concern for Europe's stability.

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De Volkskrant (NL) / 25 September 2017

Berlin plays a special role

The changes in Germany's party system will have an impact elsewhere, De Volkskrant comments:

“The crisis of the major parties and the advance of radical parties that promise quick fixes to complex problems mark a return to normality in German politics - 70 years after Zero Hour. ... But Germany is not normal. Its political identity was based on a radical break with the past and the broad-based desire to use its clout in the interest of European politics. The right-wing extremist comments which the AfD is not always able to repress are therefore not just unpleasant, but extremely disquieting. The consequences of this 'normalisation' will be felt in the rest of the EU. ... Europe is dependent on the good will of Germany and its willingness to make a special contribution.”

Contributors (RO) / 24 September 2017

Election result could pose a problem for the EU

Europe will also be affected by the difficult coalition talks ahead, political scientist Valentin Naumesu writes on the blog portal Contributors:

“With an unstable government in Berlin, the EU could lose one of the two motors in the French-German tandem. The chancellor would have to concentrate more on German politics and interests. Caught up in the coalition talks, she would neglect European issues. Worse than that, she could start to pursue protectionist policies - for domestic reasons of course. And that could compromise the reform of the EU.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) / 25 September 2017

Jamaica coalition a real opportunity

A coalition between the conservative CDU/CSU, the liberal FDP and the Green Party is difficult but not impossible to imagine, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung points out:

“If the two smaller parties go about things pragmatically, such a coalition could provide an opportunity to tackle future-oriented topics that the grand coalition has neglected. Not just motorways, railways, data networks, university buildings and the army are suffering from insufficient infrastructural investment. Key political questions regarding the ageing population, immigration, the appropriate education for the Internet generation, peaceful and democratic co-existence in Europe and the world must also be addressed. With all these questions, stronger leadership on the part of the German government has long been called for. And as far as that goes, despite all the difficulties the CDU may encounter in forming a government, these election results could represent a real opportunity.”

Kapital (BG) / 22 September 2017

The queen and her Jupiter will renew Europe

Merkel is sure to win the election, the weekly Kapital predicts, delighted at the prospect because it believes this will rev up the German-French motor:

“Populism has been tamed on both sides of the Rhine. Now the uncrowned queen of Europe and her French Jupiter [Macron] can set about renewing Europe by reforming the eurozone, creating a true defence union, bolstering Schengen and closing the many gaps in migration policy. The German-French motor which has grinded to a halt ahead of the German elections will once again go into high gear.”

Revista 22 (RO) / 21 September 2017

Merkel keeps right distance from Kremlin

Merkel is the right choice because she maintains a well-judged distance to Russia, Revista 22 believes:

“Certainly, Merkel is no fan of adopting an unbending stance vis-à-vis Moscow. For example she has lent her support to controversial projects like the Nord Stream II pipeline. Nevertheless, despite her generally favourable attitude to the Russians she also managed to convince the European Council to maintain sanctions against Moscow when more than a few leaders wanted an end to them. In a Russophile, anti-American Europe, Merkel has managed to keep her distance, albeit not as much as we would have liked. ... A coalition between the SPD, the Left and the Green Party would mean a precarious shift towards Moscow in German and European policies. A Merkel-led government, by contrast, would maintain a centrist stance.”

Új Szó (Slowakei) (SK) / 21 September 2017

Orbán must prepare for bumpy ride

If the German elections produce another grand coalition the governments in Warsaw and Budapest won't have much to laugh about, Új Szó suspects:

“In this scenario [SPD leader] Schulz, who was a member of the European Parliament for 23 years and then its president, would probably end up in the post of foreign minister. Schulz was never a friend of the conservative national governments in Poland and Hungary. He engaged in several conflicts with the two countries. And because national politics is very different to the highly symbolic politics of the EU Parliament, Schulz would have far more powers. In the case of Hungary's Orbán that means he'd better prepare for a bumpy ride.”

Rzeczpospolita (PL) / 21 September 2017

Principled Greens should be in government!

A coalition between Merkel's CDU/CSU and the Green Party would be advantageous for Poland, writes Jerzy Haszczyński, foreign editor of Rzeczpospolita:

“Thanks to Merkel, the West has imposed sanctions on Russia for its border violations and aggression in Ukraine. Nowadays, however, the only other party that espouses such a principled stance is the Greens. As the third member of a coalition government with the CDU/CSU and the FDP, the Green Party would put a brake on the ambitions of German industry that could prove dangerous for our region.”

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