Will Germany fill the void left by Angela Merkel?

Since 2005, Angela Merkel has been at the helm of Germany and has been a European benchmark. His withdrawal from the political scene leaves many doubts on the horizon, especially in the face of the challenges for Germany and Europe. Will his successor be able to fill that void?

Angela Merkel, since she took the reins of Germany, has had to face crises of all kinds. Behold the great recession of 2008, the great migrations of 2015 and the recent outbreak of the pandemic caused by the spread of COVID-19.

His role at the helm of Germany, the economic locomotive of Europe, has propelled him to a leadership position. Therefore, his goodbye leaves a gap that is very difficult to fill. And it is that, both Europe and Germany must face major challenges. These challenges include healing the wounds of a European Union punished by division and Brexit, without forgetting relations with China, climate change and a pandemic whose health and economic effects have not yet been overcome.

A horizon full of challenges

As Merkel herself stated, the response to the pandemic must be coordinated. In this sense, great leadership is needed not only at the national level, but also at the European level. Furthermore, in a global challenge that requires cooperation, German Health Minister Jans Spanh himself went so far as to say that a “health NATO” was necessary to deal with COVID-19.

The economic effects of the virus on health and the economy are undeniable. Hence, important discrepancies have arisen between the different European countries when it comes to tackling the economic crisis. Merkel’s successor will have to unite opposing positions, making all the partners row in the same direction for the sake of the economic prosperity of Europe.

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With the departure of Great Britain from the European Union and the doubts that are generated about the European integration project, populisms and radicalisms have raised their voices. It is precisely at these times when unity is required that Europe needs a leader, someone who will unite democratic Europe in the face of those who want to foment conflict and division in times of crisis.

Likewise, the role of the European Union as a great commercial power must be relaunched, especially in the face of competitors such as China or the United States. Also in this constant competition with the United States and China enters the race for digitization, since both powers are one step ahead of Germany and the European Union.

Finally, with the issue of climate change on the table, it is necessary to respond to the balance between economic prosperity and the protection of the environment. Both Germany and Europe must decide whether to opt for the traditional industrial model or whether they advocate a more environmentally friendly economy.

Will Laschet be up to Merkel?

Thus, Merkel’s party leads the polls in Germany, which would give the next CDU candidate wide options to win the chancellery in the next elections in September 2021. As a result, all eyes are on the moderate Armin Laschet (recently elected as leader of the CDU in a telematic congress).

But who is Armin Laschet? Do you have a markedly conservative or centrist profile? Does he advocate for the national interests of Germany or is he a man of deep European convictions? What is your plan to manage the pandemic? How will you tackle climate change? What is your economic model?

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Armin Laschet was born in Aachen, a city deeply linked to the history of Europe. And it is that, the German town was capital of the Empire of Charlemagne. Furthermore, Laschet knows the ins and outs of the European Union well, having served as a European parliamentarian between 1999 and 2005. It is therefore clear that Laschet is in favor of a Germany committed to Europe.

Continuing with Laschet’s profile in international politics, everything indicates that he would opt for strengthening relations with the United States, especially with the arrival of Joe Biden to the White House. The European Union and the United States share values ​​and, with a moderate politician like Laschet as the visible head of Europe, it would be possible to rebuild relations that Trump left untouched by his policy of prioritizing the national interests of the United States.

While he has experience on issues such as European foreign policy and budgeting, Laschet appears to be leaning toward boosting the economy through tax breaks and tax breaks. Regarding the relationship between climate change and the economy, Laschet is in favor of defending business interests while channeling the economic model towards an ecological transition.

In economic doctrine, everything seems to indicate that Laschet will remain faithful to the ideology of the CDU, especially the control of public accounts. Therefore, as European countries overcome the economic recession caused by the pandemic, Germany will once again show itself as a demanding partner in meeting deficit targets. In other words, Germany will continue to stand firm in defense of austerity.

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However, it is clear that Laschet does not enjoy Merkel’s recognition. Many Germans do not trust Laschet, especially among the young. Another element that can also work against him would be his unfortunate management of the pandemic.

In conclusion, the next man to lead Germany will face a divided Europe, the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19, as well as a complex international landscape.

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