Thursday

19th Apr 2018

EU hopes German elections lead to 'better Europe'

French president Emmanuel Macron congratulated German chancellor Angela Merkel on her likely re-election on Sunday (24 September), signalling his wish for a strong Franco-German engine to push forward EU integration.

"We shall continue our essential cooperation for Europe and our respective countries," Macron said in a tweet.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now for a 30 day free trial.

  1. €150 per year
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The French leader is due to hold a speech about EU integration on Tuesday (26 September). A coalition with the liberal FDP party could make Merkel less open to Macron's proposals for deepening the eurozone.

Spanish centre-right prime minister Mariano Rajoy also congratulated Merkel, via Twitter and a telegram. "A stronger Germany and a better Europe," he wrote.

Merkel's party CDU and its sister party, CSU, came out as the largest on Sunday's election, securing almost 33 percent of the votes. However, it was a substantial loss - down from 41.5 percent.

Her coalition partner SPD, the centre-left social-democrats led by former European Parliament president Martin Schulz, announced they would not enter a government coalition, after shrinking from 25.7 percent to 20.5 percent.

The Swedish and Dutch prime ministers also congratulated Merkel, and both said they hoped to continue "close cooperation".

The two leading EU figures, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, and European Council president Donald Tusk, had not yet given a public statement by Monday morning.

Jamaica coalition

However, Juncker's chief-of-staff, Martin Selmayr, a member of Merkel's party, tweeted a Jamaican flag in between two EU flags.

The widely expected combination of parties to form a coalition is CDU/CSU, the FDP (Liberals), and the Greens. These parties' trademark colours - respectively black, yellow, green - match that of the Jamaican flag.

The anti-Islam, anti-EU Alternative for Germany (AfD), which entered parliament with 12.6 percent support, was congratulated by French MP Marine Le Pen, who leads the far-right Front National party.

"Bravo to our AfD allies for this historic score," she said. One of the two AfD members in the European Parliament sit with Front National in the Europe of Nations and Freedom group.

Liberal comeback

The FDP's European family, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (Alde), said that the FDP had "a major comeback" by securing 10.7 percent of the votes - the party had been ousted from parliament in the previous elections.

"After years in the wilderness, the FDP is now back," said Alde leader Guy Verhofstad, a former Belgian prime minister.

"I hope that Mrs Merkel will form a pro-European government now, that will push for the reforms the EU urgently needs," he said.

Luxembourg's prime minister, Xavier Bettel, a Liberal, also congratulated the FDP and its leader, Christian Lindner, and said that the "increasing strength" of liberal values was "good for Europe".

However, although the Greens are very much in favour of more European integration, the FDP has become much more sceptical.

Lindner has criticised Merkel's immigration policy and her approach towards Turkey.

Recently, Lindner suggested that Germany may have to accept Russia's annexation of Crimea as a "permanent provisional arrangement".

'Difficult' talks ahead

The European Green Party, unsurprisingly, celebrated the slight increase of support for the German Greens - 8.4 percent up to 8.9 percent.

However, the European party's co-chair, Reinhard Buetikofer, a German, was not all jubilant.

"AfD, the extreme right, managed to enter the Bundestag for the first time with a higher result than most polls predicted. This is a shock that necessitates us, as well as all the other democratic parties, to stand up reliably for the values on which our republic is founded," he said in a statement.

Buetikhofer also predicted that the path towards coalition talks will "be difficult and treacherous".

He noted the coalition government with the Greens should aim for "a stronger European Union, making use of the window of opportunity that exists in the triangle between Paris, Brussels and Berlin".

Merkel survives election 'earthquake'

Christian-democrat leader set to rule Germany together with liberals and greens, but with a new troublemaker - the AfD party - on the scene.

Analysis

Merkel-Macron: An EU motor in the making

Merkel's re-election is expected to revive the Franco-German EU motor, but the German leader and France's new ruler are still searching for a common vision.

Visual Data

The Merkelisation of Europe

Angela Merkel, the EU's most powerful leader, is running for a fourth time in Germany's election on Sunday. But what has changed in Europe over the 12 years of her chancellorship?

Analysis

Merkel's win heralds uncertain time

On Sunday, Germans elected Angela Merkel for her fourth term in office. However, she may be facing her most difficult period yet as chancellor.

Opinion

The populists may have won, but Italy won't leave the euro

The situation as Rome tries to form a government is turbulent and unpredictable. However, the most extreme eurosceptic policies floated during the election campaign are unlikely to happen - not least due to the precarious state of the Italian banks.

Far-right parties re-register to access EU funds

After missing a funding deadline, the far-right nationalist Alliance for Peace and Freedom and the Alliance of European National Movements are back in the game and possibly eligible for EU money in 2019.

News in Brief

  1. MEPs urge better protection for journalists
  2. Dieselgate: MEPs back greater role for EU in car approvals
  3. European parliament adopts new organic farming rules
  4. EU granted protection to half million people in 2017
  5. Report: Facebook to carve 1.5bn users out of EU privacy law
  6. Greek court ruling permits migrants to travel to mainland
  7. Commonwealth summit hopes for trade boost after Brexit
  8. Merkel and Macron meet to finetune eurozone reform plans

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. ILGA EuropeParabéNs! Portugal Votes to Respect the Rights of Trans and Intersex People
  2. Mission of China to the EUJobs, Energy, Steel: Government Work Report Sets China's Targets
  3. Martens CentreJoin Us at NET@WORK2018 Featuring Debates on Migration, Foreign Policy, Populism & Disinformation
  4. European Jewish CongressKantor Center Annual Report on Antisemitism Worldwide - The Year the Mask Came Off
  5. UNICEFCalls for the Protection of Children in the Gaza Strip
  6. Mission of China to the EUForeign Minister Wang Yi Highlights Importance of China-EU Relations
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersImmigration and Integration in the Nordic Region - Getting the Facts Straight
  8. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMacedonians in Bulgaria Demand to End the Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  9. Counter BalanceThe EIB Needs to Lead by Example on Tax Justice
  10. ILGA EuropeTrans People in Sweden to be Paid Compensation for Forced Sterilisation
  11. International Partnership for Human RightsThe Danger of Standing Up for Justice and Rights in Central Asia
  12. Mission of China to the EUChina and EU Must Work Together to Promote Global Steel Sector

Latest News

  1. Obscurity surrounds EU military fund's expert groups
  2. New EU party finance rules short circuit accountability
  3. Draghi to stay in secretive 'lobby' group
  4. Bulgaria offers lesson in tackling radical-right populists
  5. Getting secret EU trilogue documents: a case study
  6. Selmayr case scars Parliament and Commission
  7. Beyond macho: Turkish-EU ties
  8. 'Flobert' guns - Europe's latest terror loophole

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Swedish EnterprisesEU Tax Proposal on Digital Services Causes Concern for Small Exporting Economies
  2. Europea Jewish CongressCondemns the Horrific Murder of Holocaust Survivor Mireille Knoll in Paris
  3. Mission of China to the EUAn Open China Will Foster a World-Class Business Environment
  4. ECR GroupAn Opportunity to Help Shape a Better Future for Europe
  5. Counter BalanceControversial Turkish Azerbaijani Gas Pipeline Gets Major EU Loan
  6. World VisionSyria’s Children ‘At Risk of Never Fully Recovering', New Study Finds
  7. Macedonian Human Rights MovementMeets with US Congress Member to Denounce Anti-Macedonian Name Negotiations
  8. Martens CentreEuropean Defence Union: Time to Aim High?
  9. UNESDAWatch UNESDA’s President Toast Its 60th Anniversary Year
  10. AJC Transatlantic InstituteAJC Condemns MEP Ana Gomes’s Anti-Semitic Remark, Calls for Disciplinary Action
  11. EPSUEU Commissioners Deny 9.8 Million Workers Legal Minimum Standards on Information Rights
  12. ACCAAppropriate Risk Management is Crucial for Effective Strategic Leadership