Germany

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    Against the odds: The improbable journey of Die Linke through unified Germany

Against the odds: The improbable journey of Die Linke through unified Germany

Opinion polls suggest that as many as six independent parties could cross the electoral threshold and enter the Bundestag in Germany’s federal elections in September. In advance of the elections, we will be running a series profiling each of these parties. In the first article of the series, Ross Campbell writes on the German Left Party (Die Linke), which has […]

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    Macron and Merkel’s warm words mask deeper Franco-German divisions over the future of Europe

Macron and Merkel’s warm words mask deeper Franco-German divisions over the future of Europe

One of Emmanuel Macron’s first acts as French President was to meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Julian Göpffarth writes that Macron’s victory over Marine Le Pen was welcomed by both of Germany’s mainstream parties, albeit in different ways. But behind the warm words, his ambitious proposals for the Eurozone are bound to generate concerns among German politicians and both […]

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    One hundred days of Martin Schulz: The rise and fall of a ‘Gottkanzler’?

One hundred days of Martin Schulz: The rise and fall of a ‘Gottkanzler’?

Angela Merkel’s CDU secured a surprise victory over the SPD in state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on 14 May. Julian Göpffarth assesses where the result leaves the SPD’s leader, Martin Schulz, ahead of the country’s federal elections in September.

Martin Schulz. Credits: Olaf Kosinsky / Skillshare.eu
It has been not much more than a hundred days that Martin Schulz has been the […]

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Is this the end of the populist surge?

Following the UK’s Brexit referendum and Donald Trump’s election as U.S. President, 2017 was billed as a year in which mainstream parties in the Netherlands, France and Germany could be overtaken by populist challengers in the shape of Geert Wilders’ PVV, Marine Le Pen’s Front National, and the AfD in Germany. Abel Bojar asks whether the PVV’s failure in […]

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    Erdoğan accuses Germany of echoing the Nazis – but his own record on anti-Semitism is shameful

Erdoğan accuses Germany of echoing the Nazis – but his own record on anti-Semitism is shameful

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan recently generated controversy in Germany after he compared the actions of German officials with Nazis. The comments came following Germany’s decision to block political rallies linked to an upcoming referendum in Turkey on 16 April. Marc David Baer argues that the incident should be used to shine a light on the Turkish government’s own deployment of […]

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    The ‘grey zone’ of Vichy France: Understanding Marine Le Pen’s latest comments on the Second World War

The ‘grey zone’ of Vichy France: Understanding Marine Le Pen’s latest comments on the Second World War

The leader of the Front National, Marine Le Pen, has generated controversy by denying French responsibility for the persecution of Jews during the Second World War. Hugh Mcdonnell examines the ‘grey zone’ of French collaboration with the German occupation, writing that Le Pen’s comments contrast strikingly with previous efforts to ‘detoxify’ her party.

On 9 April, Marine Le Pen, the leader […]

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    How electoral competition explains preference convergence and divergence in pre-electoral coalitions

How electoral competition explains preference convergence and divergence in pre-electoral coalitions

While most coalition governments form after the results of an election, some parties choose to announce their intention to form pre-electoral coalitions before a vote has been held. Based on a recent study, Zachary Greene and Matthias Haber explore why parties, which are usually in direct conflict with one another for electoral support, choose to engage in this kind of […]

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    Merkel vs Schulz: The return of the left-right divide or just another boring German election campaign?

Merkel vs Schulz: The return of the left-right divide or just another boring German election campaign?

The German social democrats (SPD) have experienced rising support in opinion polls following the selection of Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament, as the party’s candidate for chancellor at the upcoming federal elections in September. Julian Göpffarth asks whether the re-emergence of the SPD will lead to a more polarised contest, with a clear choice between […]

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    Abused in the street, invited to a Brexit BBQ: the limbo of being German in the UK

Abused in the street, invited to a Brexit BBQ: the limbo of being German in the UK

An EU citizen is an EU citizen, writes Tanja Bueltmann, and the government has made it abundantly clear that we are all in limbo until a deal to secure our rights is negotiated with the EU – if such a deal can be done. Politicians have chosen not to oppose the wave of xenophobia sweeping across the country, but […]

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    A right-wing populist party founded by economists: the strange case of Germany’s AfD

A right-wing populist party founded by economists: the strange case of Germany’s AfD

Alternative für Deutschland started life as a movement of economists who were opposed to the euro. Four years later and two years after they quit, it is a fully-fledged populist party. Simon Franzmann traces how the AfD acquired credibility by vaunting its economic expertise, before switching to more traditionally populist themes. 

Bernd Lucke with the current AfD party chair, Frauke […]

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    ‘Straight outta Würselen’ and straight into the German Chancellery? Martin Schulz and the SPD’s resurgence

‘Straight outta Würselen’ and straight into the German Chancellery? Martin Schulz and the SPD’s resurgence

Since nominating Martin Schulz as the party’s candidate for German Chancellor, the SPD has experienced an upsurge in support that seemed unthinkable only a few weeks ago. Julian Göpffarth asks what lies behind the shift in support and whether Angela Merkel should now have serious concerns over her attempt to secure re-election.

Martin Schulz. Credits: Mettmann (CC BY 3.0)
When Martin […]

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    The German reaction to Theresa May’s speech: A mixed response to ‘hard Brexit’

The German reaction to Theresa May’s speech: A mixed response to ‘hard Brexit’

Theresa May’s speech on 17 January laid out some of the key aims of the UK government as it seeks to leave the European Union. Inez von Weitershausen presents an overview of the reactions from Germany, writing that responses ranged from anger and disappointment to more hopeful calls for a constructive relationship with the UK following Brexit.

Those commentators suggesting […]

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    Boris Johnson is damaging Germany’s goodwill towards the UK

Boris Johnson is damaging Germany’s goodwill towards the UK

Despite Germany’s long-standing respect for its British partners, the Federal Republic trades more with the EU27 than it does with the UK and it has a profound ideological commitment to European integration that is seldom appreciated in Britain. Charlotte Galpin writes that in this context, Boris Johnson may be doing more harm than good by taking German support towards […]

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    Can a new leader change a party’s fortunes? How leadership changes affect voter perceptions about party policy

Can a new leader change a party’s fortunes? How leadership changes affect voter perceptions about party policy

Political parties regularly change their leadership following a disappointing election result, but how can parties be sure that a new leader will change how voters think about their policy positions? Drawing on a study of party leadership changes in seven European countries, Zeynep Somer-Topcu writes that leadership changes tend to increase the level of agreement among voters about what […]

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    Is this really the beginning of the end for Merkel? Why the CDU is still well placed to win in 2017

Is this really the beginning of the end for Merkel? Why the CDU is still well placed to win in 2017

The result of the election in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania on 4 September, where Angela Merkel’s CDU only managed third place, has been interpreted by some observers as a sign that the German Chancellor could be in danger of losing power in next year’s federal election. Ed Turner writes that there is a serious risk of over-interpretation as far as the […]

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    The AfD’s second place in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania illustrates the challenge facing Merkel in 2017

The AfD’s second place in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania illustrates the challenge facing Merkel in 2017

Angela Merkel’s CDU came third behind the Alternative for Germany (AfD) and the German Social Democrats (SPD) in elections in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania on 4 September. Kai Arzheimer writes that while the result was not unexpected and the CDU still has a lead in national polling, the election underlines the challenge facing Merkel as she seeks reelection in the next […]

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    Europe’s recent attacks underline the need for a new strategy to combat terrorism

Europe’s recent attacks underline the need for a new strategy to combat terrorism

How should European policymakers respond to the terrorist attacks that have taken place in France and Germany over recent weeks? Dennis Shen argues that the attacks highlight the need to develop a new strategy for tackling the factors which underpin terrorism. This will involve not only bringing the conflicts in Syria and Iraq to a swift conclusion, but also […]

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    Jostling for position: What determines where candidates are placed on electoral lists during European elections?

Jostling for position: What determines where candidates are placed on electoral lists during European elections?

Several EU countries use a closed list system to elect their members of the European Parliament. But what determines the position where a candidate is placed on these lists? Based on a recent study, Elena Frech writes that parties tend to prioritise MEPs who have previously been part of powerful committees in the European Parliament, but that candidates also […]

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    Schäuble vs Draghi: German losses from ECB policy are real but self-inflicted

Schäuble vs Draghi: German losses from ECB policy are real but self-inflicted

Germany has recently voiced criticism of the European Central Bank (ECB) from the perspective that its policies, such as quantitative easing, have a particularly negative effect within Germany. Benjamin Braun argues that while there have indeed been German losses from the ECB’s policies, much of the problem stems from the country’s reluctance to ease its own fiscal policy.

While the […]

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Germany: The EU’s new foreign policy engine

What characterises Germany’s involvement in shaping European foreign policy? Outlining the conclusions of a recent study, Marco Siddi writes that the nature of EU foreign policy has changed rapidly since the emergence of the Ukraine and refugee crises, with Germany taking on a key leadership role in the EU’s attempts to respond to foreign policy challenges.

The European foreign policy […]

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