Saturday

6th Jun 2020

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.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

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.

News in Brief

  1. Poland accused of 'blatant violation' of EU court injunction
  2. EU concerned by US approach to Kosovo and Serbia
  3. City morgues cast doubt on Putin's virus data
  4. ECB increases pandemic stimulus to €1.35 trillion
  5. New EU cloud computing platform 'moonshot'
  6. City of Berlin passes anti-discrimination law
  7. Iran hits record corona cases in second wave
  8. EU job losses tell tale of pandemic damage

Parliament outmanoeuvred in EU top-post game

The European Parliament on Tuesday lost a years-long power struggle, and gave up winning more influence on European politics via the so-called Spitzenkandidat process it had championed.

Who is the new EU parliament president, David Sassoli?

The 63-year-old centre-left Italian MEP was elected president of the European Parliament, with 345 votes. A former journalist, Sassoli has experience as a vice-president of the parliament, but is little known.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNESDAHow reducing sugar and calories in soft drinks makes the healthier choice the easy choice
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersGreen energy to power Nordic start after Covid-19
  3. European Sustainable Energy WeekThis year’s EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW) will be held digitally!
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic states are fighting to protect gender equality during corona crisis
  5. UNESDACircularity works, let’s all give it a chance
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers call for post-corona synergies between economic recovery and green transition

Latest News

  1. EU warns UK to abide by Brexit political declaration
  2. Internal EU borders open by 15 June - bar V4, Portugal, Spain
  3. CAP 'failed to halt biodiversity loss', auditors find
  4. After Covid-19, deserted Venice struggles to survive
  5. Commission plans strategy to 'maximise' vaccine access
  6. How spies use women to steal EU secrets
  7. Hong Kong - when the Chinese Dream became a nightmare
  8. Right of reply: Letter from the Hungarian government

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us