What if Europe loses Merkel?

Observers see Angela Merkel in a weaker position than ever before after the failure of the coalition talks. Many fear that with her departure Europe would lose a key factor for its integration and stability. Others voice hopes of a fresh start in Berlin - for Germany and for the EU.

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Népszava (HU) /

No united Europe without Mutti

With her staunchly pro-European stancce Merkel is essential for the survival of a united Europe, Népszava writes:

“Merkel deserves credit for the EU overcoming the financial and economic crisis. She was the one who held the Eurozone together despite the financial misery of the Mediterranean countries. To say nothing of her courageous solution to the refugee crisis two years ago. The German chancellor is the only European leader who is open to Emmanuel Macron's visions, and what's more she's the only Western European leader capable of coming to terms with the refractory Eastern European EU members. Without Merkel we can't even imagine a united Europe.”

eldiario.es (ES) /

Protective wall crumbling

Even on the left-wing web portal eldiario.es columnist Carlos Elordi worries about Chancellor Merkel's stability:

“While we continue to be obsessed with the Catalonia crisis something has happened in Europe that may determine the future of the EU: Angela Merkel has failed to form a government. Germany has entered a phase of political instability from which there is no easy way out. And European leaders of all stripes fear that this could face the EU with major or even insurmountable problems. Because whether you like Merkel's policies or not, up to now she had been the benchmark of political stability for the entire continent. The wall against which all crises shattered in the end. And this Monday for the first time in her career the chancellor failed. And it probably marks the start of her decline.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Merkel has become a problem

The chancellor herself has become an obstacle to the formation of a new government in Germany, the Berlin correspondent of La Repubblica Tonia Mastrobuoni comments:

“Merkel being able to say on Monday evening that she would run again for the CDU in the event of fresh elections is among other things due to the fact that there is no alternative - because she never allowed one to emerge. Moreover the CDU leader has ultimately also become an obstacle to other potential solutions. It's no secret that personal dislike between her and [FDP leader] Lindner played a role [in the failure of the preliminary coalition talks]. Or that part of the SPD would be far less reluctant to ally with the CDU/CSU if Merkel wasn't in the picture. The parties that have already been in a coalition with the chancellor are still fearful of her pushing them onto the sidelines.”

Le Temps (CH) /

Europe needs a new German government

A change of chancellor wouldn't necessarily be bad news for Europe, Le Temps counters:

“Angela Merkel also stood for a certain immobility in Europe: she insisted - at times too vehemently - on budget discipline, she resisted new political projects and always made a point of not upsetting or snubbing others. Despite all the things she accomplished on many fronts - which must receive due credit the day she leaves for good - the chancellor has been unable to give Europe new vitality. Here too, a new German government could open up fresh perspectives. Having become the leading nation of the Old Continent, her country seems ready for a more determined, more inspiring, less power-weary leadership.”