News / Europe

Germany’s Merkel Bids for 3rd Term as Tough EU Decisions Loom

Germany’s Merkel Bids For Third Term As Tough EU Decisions Loomi
X
September 19, 2013 6:41 PM
Germany will hold parliamentary elections Sunday, with current Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party riding high in the polls. As Henry Ridgwell reports, optimism over the economy appears to be working in her favor - with few other issues featuring on the campaign trail
Henry Ridgwell
Germany will hold parliamentary elections Sunday, with current Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party riding high in the polls. Optimism over the economy appears to be working in her favor - with few other issues featuring on the campaign trail.

On the campaign trail, Angela Merkel’s supporters hold up banners saying simply "Angie." Having ridden out Europe’s debt crisis, the German chancellor has built a loyal following - and she wants a third term in office.

We have had four good years, Chancellor Merkel told supporters, and we want a further four years so that we can say in 2017 that more people are doing well than they are today.

Her economic record should deliver a third term, says Simon Tilford of the London-based Center for European Reform.

“Lots of Germans who are quite critical of the eurozone’s handling of the crisis will, at the same time, give Merkel credit for limiting the damage to Germany," said Tilford.

Polls show Merkel’s Christian Democrats falling short of an absolute majority. Their current coalition partners, the Free Democrats, look set to lose seats.

So the Social Democrats - currently running second - could join Chancellor Merkel in a grand coalition of right and left. Or, if they win enough seats, the Social Democrats could join a coalition with the Greens - and force Angela Merkel out of office.

Whatever government emerges, Germany’s policy towards Europe’s debt crisis is unlikely to change, says Simon Tilford.

“There are no political parties in Germany advocating the kinds of solutions to the eurozone crisis that the governments of southern Europe would like to see, or the governments of the U.S. and the UK, for that matter, would like to see. None of the German parties support, say, a fiscal union," he said.

In southern Europe - and especially Greece - Germany continues to be vilified as the country that has forced austerity on the EU. Many Greeks single out Angela Merkel.

Unemployed Stratos Franzis says: "As far as the Greeks are concerned, her polices are negative and unbearable," he said.

Lawyer Hera Arhountaki agrees. "They will look after Germany's interests either way, not ours,” she said.

The EU has put off making many tough decisions until after the German elections, says Professor Michael Wohlgemuth, director of Berlin-based think tank Open Europe.

"It's not just Greece; there's also the banking union, where we need some decisions rather soon, you know, the single supervisory mechanism… and how to also do a restructuring of the many zombie banks that are most likely still around both in the periphery and in Germany and France," said Wohlgemuth.

While EU partners Britain and France have been at the forefront of Western diplomacy on Syria, foreign policy issues have barely played a role in the German election, says Simon Tilford.

“If anything, Germany’s pacifism and its reluctance to engage internationally, its reluctance to think strategically about foreign policy questions, is actually gathering strength," he said.

Many analysts say optimism over the economy is at the root of Germans’ apparent willingness to stick with the status quo.

You May Like

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid