There was never much sense in Germany’s coalition talks between the CDU/CSU, FDP and the Greens, but Angela Merkel saw it as her best chance to remain chancellor. Now, FDP leader Christian Lindner has pulled his party out of the negotiations, showing an adherence to principles rarely found in European politics these days. The best scenario for Germany now would be for Ms. Merkel to step down.
More coalition options in Germany
Two things are taken for granted in German politics. First, that there is no realistic alternative to Chancellor Angela Merkel, and second, that the only possible government after the Social Democrats went over to the opposition is a black-yellow-green (Jamaican) coalition of the CDU/CSU, Free Democrats and Greens. But what if neither of these propositions is true?
Opinion: Putting Europe back on track
These days, it is easy to forget that European integration is a huge success. The founders were right that the free movement of goods and people would bind the continent together and promote peace. But national governments and centralizing democrats have spoiled a good idea through their own timidity and ambition. If the European Union is to play a global role, it must return to its roots.
Germany’s hollow political establishment pays the price
Germany's voters have spoken by turning their backs on the ruling coalition. As Chancellor Angela Merkel tries to hold the CDU/CSU together and piece together a new government, some interesting possibilities might emerge.
GIS Dossier: Return of the Daddy State
The aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the 2008 financial crisis have led to calls for a dramatic increase in the powers of government. Even the ubiquity of internet-based technologies and the populist backlash against political establishments have had the paradoxical effect of promoting centralization. Yet in both politics and economics, there is plenty of evidence that state paternalism is the wrong answer.
Scenarios for the future of the EU-Turkey relationship
The relationship between Turkey and the European Union is on the rocks. Turkey cannot be considered eligible for membership, but the accession process remains officially ongoing. A collapse of the talks seems likely – but that would cause more problems than it would solve. Forging a new kind of partnership would have plenty of benefits, but would require ending accession negotiations. Sticking with the status quo gives both sides what they want, for now.
A new Euro-Atlantic strategy for the Western Balkans
The European Union and the United States are again paying attention to the Western Balkans, trying to keep the region firmly within the EU and NATO orbit. But Angela Merkel’s ambitious plans for economic development will hinge on overcoming traditional animosities – especially the conflict between Serbia and Albania over Kosovo and Greek-Macedonian tensions – which have allowed Russia to reassert its influence.
Germany votes: another four years of Merkel – but which Merkel?
Angela Merkel looks nearly certain to win another term as chancellor of Germany in September. The big question is what her next moves will be. Much of that will depend on her coalition partners in government, but one thing is sure: she will continue to be flexible and outsmart her opponents. She will also begin to shore up her legacy: making Germany relevant again, as a reliable, rational, and stable nation.
India and Germany draw closer
India and Germany may seem like an odd couple. But a recent flurry of diplomatic consultations suggest that the two countries may be beginning to form a strategic relationship. What animates them is a belief that second-tier powers need to work more closely together to shore up an international order threatened by an assertive China and a whimsical United States.
Opinion: Statesmanship in short supply
Today’s politicians seem to be reacting to events rather than leading. Part of the problem is the plethora of high-profile international summits, which make for good photo opportunities but don’t offer any occasion for deeper discussions. The whirlwind trips give them little time to think through strategy and future scenarios, making them more likely to act in terms of political expedience.