Germany

  • Bavaria Election Casts Doubt on Merkel's Grand Coalition

    The result of the October 14 election in Bavaria has prompted the question: is this the beginning of the end for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition?

    The Christian Social Union (CSU), which along with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) is part of the governing coalition in Berlin, suffered heavy losses. It lost its absolute majority in the Bavarian parliament and 10.5 percent of votes compared to 2013. This was its worst showing since 1954.

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  • Here's Why Angela Merkel Will Be Paying Attention to Bavaria's Election (And You Should Too)

    Many in Berlin and across Europe will be closely watching Bavaria’s October 14 state parliamentary election for its implications for German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition. The Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavarian sister party of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and one of three partners in her grand coalition, has long dominated the state’s unique politics, holding an absolute majority for all but one term since the 1960s. That dominance seems to be coming to an abrupt end, with repercussions that will be felt in Berlin. 

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  • What Will Merkel Decide on Nord Stream 2?

    As German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin meet on Saturday near Berlin, several items will be on the agenda, including the war in Syria, the conflict in east Ukraine, and US tariffs. The most important item, however, will be the Nord Stream 2 pipeline bringing Russian gas to Germany. The Nord Stream 2 project has faced harsh criticism from both partner EU countries and Washington and reflects the continued complexity of the German-Russian relationship. Merkel’s need to balance her interests between her Western allies and Moscow means that her meeting with Putin will likely produce an empty-promise agreement on Nord Stream 2, with Russia saying that it will continue its gas transit via Ukraine even after the pipeline is completed.

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  • A Breakthrough in Berlin? Not So Fast.

    When German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets Russian President Vladimir Putin on August 18, few expect any break-throughs on the intractable differences between Berlin and Moscow in recent years. But their second meeting in just three months may also signal that the two leaders are stepping up their dialogue as both need each other’s support on a number of foreign policy headaches amid an international environment in flux. 

    Officially on the agenda for the meeting are the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine, the Syrian war, and the refugee situation in the region as well as the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline between Russia and Germany. For the moment, Merkel seems to have little leverage to affect any major changes in Moscow’s policies. At least in the near term, Putin holds the key to real progress on any of the three items and little suggests his previous positions have shifted significantly since their last meeting in May – or are likely to do so in the immediate future.

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  • Fleck Quoted in Newsweek on German-Russia Meeting over Nord Stream 2


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  • Shaffer quoted in Newsweek on Merkel-Putin Meeting and Nord Stream 2 Implications


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  • Fleck Quoted in Newsweek on Merkel-Putin Meeting


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  • Fleck Quoted in Newsweek on the Immigration Debate in Germany


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  • Shaffer Quoted in Newsweek on Trump's Criticism of Europe on Russian Energy


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  • Can NATO Allies Effectively Utilize Increases in Defense Spending?

    Decreases in NATO members’ defense budgets in the years before Vladimir Putin’s takeover of Crimea in 2014 created readiness problems in Europe just as they have in America,
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