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

Multimedia Obama Defends Immigration Action

Obama says with his executive action on immigration, enforcement resources will be focused on 'felons, not families; criminals, not children' More

US-Led Airstrikes in Syria Kill Over 900: Monitoring Group

British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the toll includes more than 50 civilians, five of them women and eight of them children More

Report: Obama Broadens US Combat Role in Afghanistan

The New York Times says resident Barack Obama has signed a classified order extending the role of US troops in Afghanistan for another year 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.
New Skateboard Defies Gravityi
X
November 21, 2014 5:07 AM
A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Mexico Protests Escalate Over Disappearances

Protests in Mexico over 43 students missing since September continue to escalate, reflecting growing anger among Mexicans about a political system they view as corrupt, and increasingly tainted by the drug trade. Mounting outrage over the disappearances is now focused on the government of President Enrique Pena Nieto, accused of not doing enough to end insecurity in the country. More from VOA's Victoria Macchi.
Video

Video US Senate Votes Down Controversial Oil Pipeline - For Now

The U.S. Senate has rejected construction of a controversial pipeline to transport Canadian oil to American refineries. The $5 billion project still could be approved next year, but it faces a possible veto by President Barack Obama. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, the pipeline has exposed deep divisions in Congress about America’s energy future.
Video

Video Can Minsk Cease-fire Agreement Hold?

Growing tensions between government troops and separatists in eastern Ukraine further threaten a cease-fire agreement reached two months ago in the Belarusian capital of Minsk. Critics of U.S. policy in Ukraine say it is time the Obama administration gives up on that much-violated cease-fire and moves toward a new deal with Russia. VOA's Scott Stearns has more.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Ferguson Church Grapples with Race Relations

Many white residents of Ferguson, Missouri, say they chose to live there because of the American Midwest community's diversity. So, they were shocked when a white police officer killed an unarmed black teenager in August – and shaken by the resulting protests and violence. Some local churches are leading conversations on how to go forward. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid