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Germany

The improbable victory: lessons of the SPD’s election win (Robert Misik, Social Europe)

Who would have dared predict this a few months or years ago: the SPD becoming the strongest party in the Bundestag elections? With just over 26 per cent of the votes, the social democrats were not only 1.6 points ahead of the Christian democrats. Compared with the polls of previous years, the outcome was a small democratic miracle: until early summer, the SPD was polling at a depressing 15 per cent.

How did this astonishing victory come about? What lessons can progressive and left-wing parties elsewhere learn from it? And what follows now?

The improbable victory: lessons of the SPD’s election win – Robert Misik (socialeurope.eu)

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Germany

German far-right: Spats and election losses as AfD veers to the right (Nikolaus J. Kurmayer, Euractiv)

Germany’s far-right Eurosceptic AfD party made surprising gains in the 2017 elections, prompting fears of a new far-right wave in Europe. However, following their lacklustre result in September’s federal elections, the party has lost much of its splendour.

AfD, founded in 2013, won 12% of the vote at the 2017 elections, the best result of a German far-right party since the inception of the republic after World War Two. At the time, many feared a new wave of populism and right-wing extremism in Germany.

German far-right: Spats and election losses as AfD veers to the right – EURACTIV.com

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Europe Germany

Germany and Europe: “Ampel” time for reform (Marcus Colla, The Interpreter)

It’s coalition time in Germany. At the 26 September election, the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), led by the current Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, emerged as the largest party, with 25.7 per cent of the vote. Everything now points to a Scholz-led government, in combination with the liberal Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens: a so-called Ampel (traffic light) coalition, named after the parties’ colours of red, yellow and green.

Germany and Europe: “Ampel” time for reform | The Interpreter (lowyinstitute.org)

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Denmark Germany Syria

Germany and Denmark repatriate women, children from Syria camp (Al Jazeera)

Germany and Denmark have brought home 11 women and 37 children from a camp in northeastern Syria where suspected members of the ISIL (ISIS) armed group have been held, the German foreign ministry has said.

Germany repatriated 23 children and their eight mothers on a charter flight which landed shortly before midnight on Wednesday (22:00 GMT) at Frankfurt airport. They had been living in the Roj prison camp in northeastern Syria, which is under Kurdish control.

Germany and Denmark repatriate women, children from Syria camp | ISIL/ISIS News | Al Jazeera

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Germany Russia

Germany’s Russia policy in the post-Merkel era (Chatham House)

History overshadows Germany’s relations with Russia, greatly complicating Berlin’s efforts to design effective policies to manage the challenge posed by Russia to Europe’s stability.

After 1991, Germany focused heavily on ‘soft’ power by promoting people-to-people contacts and encouraging trade. Grateful for Moscow’s blessing of reunification and anxious to avoid confrontation, German policymakers ignored Russia’s drift to authoritarianism, the latter’s growing confidence fuelled by high commodity prices and its gradual alienation from Europe.

Confrontation was inevitable once Russia no longer felt bound by the security principles that ended the Cold War. Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 was a deep shock to the German elites. It caused a sharp shift in Russia policy as Chancellor Merkel led a European response to stabilize Ukraine that included imposing economic sanctions on Russia.

However, true to its old instincts, Germany continued to promote energy co-operation with Russia. Its support for the expansion of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline damaged relations with Ukraine and several EU and NATO member states that saw Germany disregarding broader European interests.

Angela Merkel is the European leader with the greatest experience of dealing with Moscow and arguably the best understanding of Russia thanks to her East German background and her knowledge of Russian.

The speakers also discuss John Lough’s new book Germany’s Russia Problem (Manchester University Press, July 2021).

Germany’s Russia policy in the post-Merkel era (chathamhouse.org)

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Germany USA

Boeing si aggiudica il contratto per 5 aerei P-8A per la Germania (Analisi Difesa)

La US Navy ha assegnato il 28 settembre a Boeing un contratto di produzione per cinque P-8A Poseidon per la Germania che nel luglio scorso aveva annunciato l’ordine per il rinnovo della sua flotta di aerei da pattugliamento marittimo. Le prime consegne dovrebbero iniziare nel 2024, quando il P-8A sostituirà la flotta tedesca di P-3C Orion.

“Siamo lieti di aver finalizzato questa vendita alla Germania e di espandere la nostra presenza nel paese portando il P-8A e le sue capacità multi-missione uniche alla Marina tedesca”, ha affermato Michael Hostetter, vicepresidente, Boeing Defense, Space & Security per la Germania.

Boeing si aggiudica il contratto per 5 aerei P-8A per la Germania – Analisi Difesa

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Angela Merkel Germany

End of the Merkel Era: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi (Shimon Stein, INSS)

The elections in Germany on September 26, 2021 brought to an end Angela Merkel’s 16 consecutive years as Chancellor. Her approach to management of affairs of state and international issues was characterized by mastery of the facts, credibility, avoidance of statements or actions that could encourage extreme positions, and an effort to reach a broad consensus. At the same time, her policies lacked overall strategy and vision, and displayed unwillingness to take electoral risks. Thus Merkel will be remembered as one who managed crises, rather than as one who resolved them. On Israel, Chancellor Merkel will be remembered for her stress on responsibility for the security of Israel as an integral part of Germany‘s “reason of state” that is non-negotiable. Merkel’s very positive image among the Israeli public (compared to Israel’s problematic image among the German public) is partly explained by her avoidance of public criticism, apart from disapproval of settlement policy in the West Bank, which in her opinion does not help secure Israel’s future as a Jewish and democratic state.

End of the Merkel Era: Sic Transit Gloria Mundi | INSS

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Germany Russia

Cooperation on international issues would benefit interests of Russia and Germany – Putin (TASS)

The development of constructive cooperation between Russia and Germany, working together on pressing international issues would be beneficial for the people of both countries, Russian President Vladimir Putin wrote in a telegram to German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel and President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Sunday on the occasion of the German Unity Day, according to the Kremlin press service.

“Germany’s unification became an important historical event that marked the end of the Cold War in Europe, as well as the beginning of a new relationship between our countries,” it said in the telegram.

“The Russian President expressed confidence that the development of constructive bilateral cooperation in various areas would be in the best interests of both Russian and German people,” the statement said.

German Unity Day is celebrated on October 2, to mark the unification of the German Federal Republic with the German Democratic Republic in 1990.

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Germany Iran

Berlin-Tehran ties in new era of Germany’s Social Democrats (IRNA)

Following a long-awaited victory by Germany’s Social Democratic Party (SPD), which led to departure of Chancellor Angela Merkel from power after 16 years, observers are of the opinion that top politicians in new government will show more balanced view towards relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Germany experienced one of the most different and unprecedented elections in its contemporary polls, where several political factions competed and at the end the Social Democratic Party (SPD) leaded by Olaf Scholz succeeded in overtaking other parties with a narrow majority.

Germans participated in federal elections on September 26 to elect the members of the 20th Bundestag. With 25.7% of total votes, the SPD recorded their best result since 2005, and emerged as the largest party for the first time since 2002. The ruling party CDU/CSU recorded their worst ever result with 24.1%, a significant decline from 32.9% in 2017 election.

Scholz believes that the new government should be a combination of three parties, including Social Democratic Party (SPD), Free Democratic Party (FDP), and Green Party.

The day after the election, the leader of the SPD underlined that he wants to have good relations with the United States, while guaranteeing on Germany’s interests. He further called for pursuing a strong relationship with the European Union.

As to Scholz’s foreign policy when it comes to Iran, he has not yet announced any official stance. However, his party’s historical relation with the Islamic Republic shows that Gerhard Schroder, former German chancellor, opposed military aggression against Iran over nuclear standoff. Schroder argued that nuclear dispute with the Iranians can be solved through a peaceful negotiation.

The former leader of the SPD visited Iran in March 2010, when he was no longer Germany’s chancellor. He was invited by Professor Majid Samiei, Iranian neurosurgeon and medical scientist, to participate in two inaugural ceremonies in Tehran and Rasht. Some German investors and business representatives accompanied Schroder in the trip. They reviewed potential economic cooperation opportunities especially in gas extraction and export fields.

In January 2016, Schroder heading a high-ranking delegation visited Iran, holding talks with the then Iranian authorities, including former President Hassan Rouhani.

A look at stances taken by SPD politicians enhances the expectation that Scholz would take more balanced stance towards the Islamic Republic and is expected to support the revival of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

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