Germany hamstrung, Europe deadlocked?

French President Macron has expressed deep concern after the failure of Germany's explanatory coalition talks. Dutch Foreign Minister Zijlstra said the developments were bad news for Europe. And EU Commission President Juncker fears that without a stable government in Berlin the EU's reform engine will falter. But not all media take such a dismal view of Europe's future.

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NRC Handelsblad (NL) /

A quick end to the European Spring

Europe's reform process will be shelved for the time being, NRC Handelsblad fears:

“After arduous elections in Germany and France in which the populist forces were more or less thwarted, a 'European Spring' seemed possible: the chance to make significant progress on several major issues like defence, the Eurozone and migration. Last month the European Council presented a strict agenda of super-summits in order, as it said, to unravel some 'Gordian knots'. But the time window in which the necessary political will can be forged is limited. The next elections to the European Parliament are due to take place in one and a half years and everyone will be in election campaign mode again.”

Naftemporiki (GR) /

Europe's fleet without a flagship

Germany without a government is like a ship without a captain, and that does not bode well for the rest of Europe, Naftemporki fears:

“If the weather turns foul and there's still no one at the helm the ship could easily run onto the rocks. ... As long as Germany has no government decisions about the future of Europe, the Brexit process, the situation of Greece as well as Macron's proposals for a tighter Eurozone and a stronger Europe will be put on the back burner. Without a captain the German ship is more likely to go off course and head in the wrong direction. And without the German ship the rest of the European fleet is vulnerable and disoriented.”

Neue Zürcher Zeitung (CH) /

No cause for panic

The Neue Zürcher Zeitung doesn't find the delayed formation of a new government particularly worrying:

“Germany has run out of options for forming a majority government. This is unprecedented. However, and that's the upside of this failure, the country can well afford a prolonged phase of political insecurity, of exploration and experimentation. Germany is extremely strong and stable - economically, socially and institutionally. If the failed attempts to form a government could really have plunged the country into a crisis, the party leaders would no doubt have worked things out with each other. There is no reason to panic now. Germany, the reform-seeking EU and the economy can afford a lengthy quest for solutions.”

The Independent (GB) /

Without Merkel Brexit could be prevented

If Angela Merkel stepped down the cards could be reshuffled on the subject of Brexit, The Independent speculates:

“But what if there were a new leader of her Christian Democrat movement with a more sceptical view of the value of freedom of labour - one who might indeed want to see it reviewed across the whole of the EU? That is after all, what the new German business organisation that wants to keep the UK in the EU is campaigning for, and it was something Tony Blair mysteriously hinted that European leaders were thinking about a few months ago. If it were ever to happen, then the principal reason for Brexit would be removed at a stroke – and there would be much support for it in other countries too.”