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

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment 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.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid