Either way, changes in the EU’s biggest and most powerful Member State mean changes in Brussels. After the formation of a new government, how will Germany position itself with regard to the climate, the rule of law in the EU, migration, fiscal policy and (again) European cooperation? Germany has been talking about him in Brussels since the elections.
In itself, nothing changes: the composition of the European Commission remains the same, as that of the European Parliament. At the most, other ministers will join the European Councils and a new Chancellor will report to the other heads of government in due course. And Germany remains Germany. But it’s already starting to slide beneath the surface. The President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, is considered Angela Merkel’s protege. Who does she turn to for help now that a different wind is blowing in Berlin?
The Christian Democrats remain the most important group (EPP) in the European Parliament and the German CDU / CSU still has as many seats, but morally they have lost power and influence. Likewise, the similar weight of the German SPD is increasing in the Social Democratic faction where so far the Spanish Socialists have dominated.
The great fear among many in Brussels is that the formation of a new German government will take months. It’s not good for Germany, not good for decision-making in the EU, but there is another danger lurking: next year there will be elections in this other big and important EU Member State: France. A long training in Germany could fit perfectly into the electoral campaign in France. With an unclear course in the two largest countries, many important issues would be stalled, and the EU cannot afford it.
This concern is expressed by Malik Azmani, MEP from the VVD, and Bas Eickhout from GroenLinks. Liberals and Greens in the European Parliament are watching training in Germany with particular interest because their sister parties there it’s yours now.
Greens and Liberals
“I have high hopes that they will come out,” said Malik Azmani, member of the VVD. “The new generation voted overwhelmingly for the Greens and the Liberals, so it’s only good if these two come out sooner rather than later.” Bas Eickhout from GroenLinks sees that there are real differences in economics, but “they both campaigned for ‘change’, so there is enough that binds us together.” Both agree that in view of the election results, collaboration with the SPD is then the obvious choice.
Von der leyen
Now that Commission President von der Leyen has lost her ideological management line with Berlin, she must reposition herself. For this reason, she already seems to be seeking more links with French President Macron. And if her EPP group in the European Parliament changes course, she must also take that into account. Above all, Azmani (VVD) hopes for a more independent von der Leyen who “turns her words even more into action, because she can no longer count on the automatic support of Berlin”. Eickhout (GroenLinks) also sees opportunities: “If she is to look a little less at Berlin over her shoulder, she should come up with her own ideas and seek majorities in the European Parliament for that.
Publicly, Ursula von der Leyen has yet to comment on the elections in her home country. She also hasn’t said a word about the outcome on Twitter.
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