Global Outlook 2017: Merkel and the myth of German hegemony

German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the Federal Chancellery in Berlin on December 14, 2016
An opportunist and a pragmatist, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will not become the savior of Western liberal democratic values as some have predicted (source: dpa)

  • Germany’s economy will strengthen and Angela Merkel will likely be reelected
  • This is not enough to expand the country’s power beyond its current limits
  • On many issues, Germany’s sway will be restricted
  • Ms. Merkel will continue along a pragmatic path

More than any other major country in Europe, Germany has reason to be optimistic about 2017. Economically, gross domestic product is expected to grow by another 1.3 percent (somewhat less than in 2016, mainly due to calendar effects), employment should reach record highs (with more and more refugees filling gaps) while the jobless rate remains at a 25-year low and the net overall public deficit should remain nonexistent. Politically, many foresee Germany remaining a bedrock of stability, especially after Angela Merkel announced that she will run for a fourth term in 2017. She seems likely to remain chancellor for another four years.

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