What will the German federal election bring?
Exactly one month from now, on 26 September, parliamentary elections will be held in Germany, the EU's most populous state and strongest economy. When Angela Merkel steps down as chancellor she will leave a considerable void not just in German politics, but also on the international stage. Concerned voices can be heard from other EU states.
Germany becoming more dominant
Germany will increasingly shape Europe's destiny regardless of the election outcome, Sydsvenskan predicts:
“The EU giant is preparing to dominate European politics once again, not least since the British threw in the towel and left the Union. Angela Merkel resolutely took up the baton as leader of the free world when US President Donald Trump proved to be not up to the task. Trump is now history. At the same time the US's geopolitical role has shifted, which could enhance Germany's clout in the EU's immediate vicinity. So regardless of who governs Germany after September 26, the country will have a bigger and more important role to play - in Europe and in the world.”
No Mario Draghis in sight
Germany currently lacks strong political figures, political scientist Gilbert Casasus observes in his blog with Le Temps:
“Foreign observers quite rightly wonder about the low quality in German domestic politics. Like many European states, Germany has said goodbye to the personalities who shaped its history. Unlike Britain, France and Italy, however, it is looking in vain for a Boris Johnson, an Emmanuel Macron, and in particular a Mario Draghi, whom many Germans regard as an enfant terrible or bogeyman for having saved the euro and preserved its monetary zone against their will.”
Left-wing coalition may neglect the EU's eastern border
If The Left Party joins a left-wing government coalition with the Greens and SPD after the election, there is the danger of Nato being weakened in the East, Rzeczpospolita fears:
“A pro-Russian and anti-Nato stance are clearly visible in [The Left Party's] election programme. Above all, the post-communists want to dismantle Nato's eastern flank by withdrawing Bundeswehr soldiers from the German-led battalion in Lithuania. This is part of their plan to ban German soldiers from participating in missions abroad.”
2015 must not be repeated
The former editor-in-chief of Lidové noviny, István Léko, fears that under a new left-wing government Germany will let in refugees en masse:
“Progressive politicians, the media and NGOs are focusing on just one task: ideologically preparing the population for a new wave of refugees. ... Surveys claim that the majority of Germans are in favour of taking in Afghan refugees. ... The Germans have suspended the repatriation of those who do not receive asylum indefinitely. Angela Merkel may have promised after the experiences of 2015 that such things would not happen again. But she will withdraw from politics this autumn. All Europe is therefore anxiously awaiting the results of the election.”