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Friday, February 23, 2018

Merkel against Schultz: alternatives to the current Chancellor of Germany no

Less than three weeks left before the parliamentary elections in Germany, scheduled for September 24. They are traditionally defined and the future Chancellor. Now in this post Angela Merkel. And its strong. On the final televised debate, held on 3 September, the Chancellor met with his main rival — the candidate of the Social democratic party, Martin Schulz. According to the results of a survey conducted after the “battle” of politicians, the majority of citizens expressed a preference for Merkel (55% of the vote against 35% for her opponent). It is no secret, however, that the people of Germany to some extent tired of the current Chancellor. Becoming the country’s first woman to hold that post, she takes him for 12 years (the record belongs to Germany while the Konrad Adenauer — 14 years). Why fatigue from Merkel coupled with a lack of alternatives to it? Will Russian-German relations with the departure of the current Chancellor? On this and many other “MK” told the head of the Center for German studies Institute of Europe RAS Vladislav BELOV.

photo: AP

Foreign policy comes to the fore

— How can we assess the alignment of political forces in Germany at the moment?

— It is important to remember that the CDU/CSU (the bloc of the Christian democratic Union and Christian social Union. — “MK”), the latter from participating in the elections of parties, presented his election program is June 3, ten days after the Social democratic party of Germany (SPD). That is, Merkel and his comrades had enough time to carefully study the situation of competitors. Both political parties, people’s party — the CDU/CSU and the SPD — claim that after the elections to form a future coalition government.

The CDU/CSU more opportunities on the arithmetic parameters, they are expected to gain one and a half times more votes than the social Democrats. And they have more comfortable with possible partners in coalition talks: Free democratic party (FDP) and Green. At the SPD possible partners — “the Left party of Germany” (LPG), which is, however, very confident feeling in the pre-election ratings, and the same “Green”. But those and others from the social Democrats, a lot of contradictions. And charismatic Sahra wagenknecht (LPG) and CEM özdemir (Green) have very strongly opposed the likely coalition with the SPD. But as you know, politics — the art of the impossible, so no scenarios can be ruled out.

At the moment I would say that the most likely version of the coalition looks like a bunch of the CDU/CSU — FDP. In second place — the same plus “Green”, the third “Grand coalition” (they already were in Germany, when neither CDU/CSU nor the SPD failed to agree with its allies on government formation. — “MK”), and the fourth — “red-green” (SPD and greens). More variants I do not see. “Alternative for Germany” (ADH) and is a well known fact — part of the “shake hands”, although in opposition quite well.

— What are the electoral programs of major parties?

— A situation of traditional elections and traditional themes in priority, although some unexpected, and came to the fore.

There is a “poster controversy”, that is, the voters don’t read the programs, they read the posters. In my opinion, the most interesting program of the “free Democrats”. The “Green” program is overloaded; the “Alternative for Germany” shows that it is the party of skeptics — a lot of populist statements about withdrawal from the Eurozone and the future of the European Union. From the people’s party many of the General provisions.

As for the campaign, it the first place among the domestic is family policy — the first such case in Germany. In the second place questions of security in the country, the third — the problem of education and economy. When talking about the economic agenda, refers primarily taxes, tax benefits in respect of wage labor.

And in addition to the internal issues of much attention this time is given to foreign policy. Traditionally, it was, as they say, on the margins, but now comes to the fore.

On domestic issues the parties have sufficient common provisions — some experts even laughed that the program of the CDU/CSU is similar to the program SPD. Of course, there are differences. That is to say, the different target groups. The social Democrats at a campaign banner it is written “Social justice”, so naturally, the focus is on the problems of poor people and citizens with low-paid work. The CDU/CSU focuses on the middle layers. However, both the people’s party is very similar software provisions dealing with internal problems.

— And how Affairs with the foreign policy questions?

— NATO in defense spending, according to the country’s participation in the fighting there are significant differences.

Martin Schulz, the candidate for Chancellor from the SPD, as a member of his party, Sigmar Gabriel (Vice-Chancellor and Minister of foreign Affairs of Germany. — “MK”) oppose the requested increase in Washington’s contribution to the Alliance (up to 2% of GDP). Their main argument — the question of where will this money go, isn’t it better to spend it on an internal German problem.

Also, they are tougher than Merkel, are against US, criticizing us President Donald trump. Although it should be noted that in the program of the CDU/CSU America is not mentioned as the friend of Germany — only as a partner.

Another area of Turkey. But here all hold about the same opinion, negatively assessing the prospects for the country’s accession to the EU. Gabriel allows himself a very harsh criticism of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but in fact from Merkel in this respect little different.

Now given attention and the North Korean problem, and I have long predicted that this will happen. Now it takes its place in the context of relations with the United States.

Another problematic country — China is a difficult partner for Germany, so he discussed the geopolitical, geo-economic.

Putin — Merkel: working dialogue without “chemistry”

— Relations with Russia — what place they take in the election agenda?

— CDU/CSU, the greens and the FDP propose the most stringent provisions concerning Russia. The claim is clear: the annexation of Crimea, the events in the East of Ukraine — hence the criticism.

The social Democrats, the left and the “Alternative for Germany” a more balanced approach. But in any case, the Crimean issue remains, despite the fact that, for example, ADH declares its readiness to recognize the Peninsula as Russian territory.

All stand for peace, for the implementation of the Minsk agreements, with possible further easing of sanctions. It is also known by the statement of the leader of the FDP, Christian Lindner about the fact that Crimea should be transferred to the long-term “freezing”, however, the program of his party do not. The idea he has been criticized, including his fellow party members, but the fact remains, they began gradually to play in the field of the social Democrats. Because, for example, and Sigmar Gabriel have already talked about the need for easing of sanctions in the SPD in this respect more favourably disposed towards Russia. However, one should not forget that Merkel does not reject the possibility of revising the sanctions regime in the case of implementation of the Minsk agreements. That is, the situation is very complicated.

— Is there some, shall we say, desirable options for Moscow in the context of the German election?

— For Russia, no matter what kind of coalition is formed in Germany after the elections. The essence of Russian-German relations will not change. Will remain Ukrainian question, the factors of the Crimea and the situation in the East of Ukraine with a simultaneous understanding of the need for a long-term partnership with Russia, without which the European world order can not be built. Remain critical of the state of democratic institutions in our country, the situation with observance of human rights etc in any coalition.

— That is the victory of Merkel, in General, would be a positive outcome for our country?

Angela Merkel, President Vladimir Putin together. Personal “chemistry” between the two leaders no personal attachment either, but working dialogue at the highest level. Merkel and Putin very well knows each other, and for example, the talks in Sochi on may 2 this year — a serious proof. The meeting went brilliantly. And although few people have not wondered why a press conference of leaders was held in the middle of negotiations, that is, after it they are still two and a half hours about something talked, this is an important nuance.

Martin Schulz, for example, is unpredictable, our authorities do not know him. At the time, when he was a member of the European Parliament, for example, he was very critical towards Russia.

— If the Russian side Merkel is familiar and comfortable with the work partner, what can you say about the residents of Germany?

— In Germany, almost all perceive Merkel as the most competent policy — on the background of fatigue from Merkel. But such is the nature of the situation, and the other candidates, in fact, no. Schultz did not meet expectations, it was the rise in February, but then he went back to his place with the level of popularity of 20-22%, while the personal rating Merkel exceeds 50%.

It should be noted that the number of undecided less than a month before the election are incredibly high. Expected turnout at the level of 70-72%, but it is likely that the number of people who do not go to the polls, too, will grow. And because of these options, the situation is largely unpredictable.

— Amid the scandal of a possible “Russian interference” in the American presidential election last year after the presidential elections in France, where many saw the “hand of the Kremlin”, as this factor is significant in Germany?

— Certain forces are trying to play now this map, but again, any coalition, any Chancellor would be acceptable to Russia. Nothing in bilateral relations will not change. Therefore, Moscow has no interest to really try somehow to intervene in the German elections. And even if you come to power, the social Democrats, they won’t change the sanctions regime, all will remain, they will also consider the opinion of the President of France Emmanuel Makron, trump, Kurt Volker (special envoy of the US state Department in Ukraine. — “MK”)…

— That is, the alternative to Merkel at the moment?

— Yes, first, there is no alternative. Secondly, Russia is the best option. If intervene means to support Angela Merkel. In addition, nothing relating to possible Russian intervention, did not really proved. Besides, there are many interested groups outside Russia, who could try to influence elections. And in any case Germany is not France, that is to say, the “Alternative for Germany” is not a “national front”. To support, for example, through the ADG of the Russian Germans makes no sense: if it does, it will be wasted money and time. I myself in conversations with Germans often ask who, in their opinion, Russia. But they are silent in response. By the way, you notice that the Russian media, for example, is really quite restrained behave in relation to Germany. That is, there is no explicit support of one or another candidate.


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