“It’s Going to Get Harder for Merkel”

(…..) German media commentators say the defeat is largely attributable to weakness of CDU’s candidate for state governor, Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, and that Merkel will be much harder to defeat in the 2013 general election. But they also say the result is likely to make left-wing opposition to her far more confrontational and less ready to compromise on upcoming issues such as the ratification of fiscal pact, for which Merkel needs a two-thirds majority in parliament. Invigorated by their new-found strength, the Social Democrats and Greens are likely to demand concessions in return for supporting the pact that would enshrine budget discipline into the constitutions of 25 of the EU’s 27 member states. The pact is central to Merkel’s increasingly unpopular strategy for tackling European debt crisis and saving the euro. Even if the NRW vote wasn’t a referendum on austerity policy, it does indicate Merkel’s conservatives are failing to convince voters with their austerity mantra. Cutting state’s debt was a central plank of Röttgen’s unsuccessful campaign. The debacle in NRW comes ahead of Tuesday’s visit to Berlin by Hollande, who is expected to urge Angela Merkel to shift away from austerity and place more emphasis on growth-oriented measures in Europe. Other countries like Italy also want Merkel to take a more balanced approach to the debt crisis. Conservative Die Welt writes: “The FDP has managed its second resurrection in a week after their success in Schleswig-Holstein. The crucial question is whether it will attribute this to its recent distancing from the CDU and, if yes, whether it will test its new-found confidence in Berlin. In this case there would be serious conflicts … (and) the chancellor could suddenly seem pretty lonely. The earth is starting to tremble under Angela Merkel. SPD now thinks its alliance with the Greens will march to victory in the 2013 general election. Its optimism is unfounded. Hannelore Kraft remained under 40% against a weak opponent in a state that has long been an SPD bastion, and Greens barely gained any ground. Red-Green is back in power thanks to Röttgen’s weakness. Angela Merkel is an opponent of an altogether different calibre.” Business daily Financial Times Deutschland writes: “It’s going to get harder for Angela Merkel. Even if election in North Rhine-Westphalia wasn’t a vote against Merkel’s austerity policy: Röttgen’s defeat is now also the chancellor’s problem. She has rarely gotten more heavily involved in a state election campaign. Since 2009, Merkel’s party has failed in 9 out of 11 elections to get a state governor elected. When regional bastions crumble, the power in Berlin does as well”. “On a nationwide level, conservatives won’t be as easy to beat as in NRW. But for the rest of her current term, Merkel faces a confrontational SPD bent on showing a distinct profile. That is why fiscal pact, which requires a two-thirds majority, will be a tough piece of work” (…..)

Link: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-response-to-cdu-defeat-in-the-north-rhine-westphalia-election-a-833003.html

Acerca de ignaciocovelo
Consultor Internacional

One Response to “It’s Going to Get Harder for Merkel”

  1. All eyes will be on Berlin this afternoon, as Angela Merkel and François Hollande meet for the first time with the ostensible goal of thrashing out their differences over the solution to the eurozone’s problems. The meeting is billed as a showdown between the fundamentally opposing world views of austerity and growth, the outcome of which might either save the single currency or hasten its demise. The reality, however, is both more prosaic and more alarming. For all the rhetoric about his leading an anti-austerity backlash, Mr Hollande’s divergences from Ms Merkel are largely a matter of emphasis. The German Chancellor favours structural measures, such as labour market reforms, to boost Europe’s flagging growth; her newly elected French counterpart speaks warmly of EU-wide “project bonds” to finance stimulatory infrastructure investment. In fact, Europe needs both. And the most likely outcome of today’s meeting is a diplomatic fudge. Meanwhile, both leaders continue to dodge the reality of what they must do. For all the anti-austerity rhetoric, Mr Hollande has only tweaked his predecessor’s deficit-reduction targets. But he has shied away from mentioning any of the reforms that will be necessary to meet them. Similarly, the German Chancellor remains implacably committed to austerity as the only solution, although her Finance Minister has, at least, hinted that Germany could tolerate the higher inflation needed to boost growth across the eurozone. So pronounced a lack of leadership at the heart of Europe is troubling enough. Worse still, the future of the single currency is rapidly being decided elsewhere. At the general election on 6 May, Greek voters took the opportunity to register their disgust at the political class that, by its squandering and pandering, led Greece into a debt crisis that has slashed the economy by nearly a fifth and shows little sign of abating. The result was so splintered that it has proved impossible for any party to form a government and another election, in four weeks’ time, is increasingly likely. What is not certain is whether the result will be any different. And with siren voices from the political extremes promising an end to biting austerity, it is not certain that Greek voters are aware of the magnitude of their choice (…..)

    http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/leading-articles/leading-article-france-and-germany-dont-have-all-the-cards-7746759.html

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