Europe in Suspense: The German Coalition Thriller Continues

Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung European Union
Place of publication
Brussels, Belgium
Date of Publication
March 2018
Number of Pages
3
Licence
Language of publication
English

After its worst electoral results since WWII and months around the negotiation table, the German social democratic Party (SPD) finally wants to commit to an irrational marriage of convenience. At the beginning former President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz promised to not go for another ‘Groko’ (grand coalition) and to never govern in a coalition with Angela Merkel; in the end he broke both promises and it cost him his political career. After the disappointing election results, the Christian-democrat CDU is not in very good shape either.

Regarding the coalition agreement, it is rather vague about the European project. The coalition partners seem to agree on a eurozone reform, a European finance minister, the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), harmonisation of taxes and more payments to the EU budget, but without setting out any meaningful policy direction. Yet, Europe is at a turning point; the European Union doesn’t seem to work with 28, soon 27 members. It is increasingly difficult to determine common policies as the EU is split into factions of Member States with diverging interests (Visegrád, Northern countries, Mediterranean countries – the 'former ‘PIGS’). The EU, after facing and surviving multiple crises, has now an opportunity to reform. But operational and willing governments will be needed to do so.