New German government: What is at stake for the EU

DW – March 3, 2018

The EU Commission is preparing itself for the worst-case scenario, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said in discussions last week. He is particularly concerned about the outcome of the Italian parliamentary elections, in particular that Italy may “not get an effective government” due to an unclear majority structure. Juncker even brandished the specter of financial market turmoil, although he later said that he had been misunderstood. He cited the SPD members’ vote as a further reason for his concern: Without the SPD members’ agreement, there will be no grand coalition and therefore no government for Europe’s leading power.

Angela Merkel also appreciates the importance of a future government for Europe. In her most recent government statement on European policy last week, she said, “We need a new start for Europe.” This was even outlined in the coalition agreement. 2018 is the year in which the foundations for the future must be laid. But she is still only making such statements as the acting chancellor. She gave the impression, after the recent EU special summit, that European partners are now expecting German politics to deliver a stable government. This was a clear solicitation to SPD members to agree to forming a coalition with the conservative Christian Democratic Union and the Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU).