Central Europe

  • Merkel’s Greatest Legacy May Be Her Unerring Sense of Style

    The chancellor announced her departure, as observers noted, with quiet dignity. Some thought she looked almost relieved. Angela Merkel surprised her party, her country, and the world by saying that she would let someone else lead the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) after the party’s congress in December; but she would continue to lead the government for the remainder of its term until 2021. This would then be the end of her political career; she would seek no further office.

    Can Germany’s leader for thirteen years last in the chancellery for another three? At this stage it is more than doubtful. Merkel herself left the door discreetly open to an earlier exit. In her carefully calibrated speech on October 29, she mentioned the agreement between the three coalition partners in Berlin to review their joint work at half time next year. This was no accident. There are so many scenarios that could prompt an earlier exit that it would be a miracle if Merkel’s final political act lasted for a full parliament.

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  • As Angela Merkel Begins Her Exit, What Next?

    Angela Merkel announced on October 30 that she would not seek re-election as leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) when the party hosts its annual convention in Hamburg in December. She also declared that this would be her last term as chancellor, as she will not stand for reelection to the Bundestag or any other political office. The announcement is surprising for several reasons, not least because of Merkel’s fundamental belief, inherited from her time in Helmut Kohl’s cabinet, that the chancellorship and head of the party should go hand in hand.

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  • Angela Merkel Will Not Seek Re-Election as Germany’s Chancellor in 2021

    German chancellor to step down from party leadership in December, give up chancellorship in 2021

    Germany’s Angela Merkel, viewed by many as a staunch defender of the liberal world order and a bulwark against the rising tide of populism in Europe, has decided to step down as leader of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party in December and not run again for the chancellorship in 2021. Merkel, who dominated European politics for the past thirteen years, has been chairwoman since 2000 and chancellor since 2005.

    “I will not be seeking any political post after my term ends,” Merkel told a news conference in Berlin on October 29.

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  • #ElectionTracker: No, the United States Isn't the Only Country Getting Ready To Vote

    Scan the headlines these days and you would be forgiven for thinking that the United States is the only country preparing for an important election. As seemingly all attention focuses on voters from the Atlantic to the Pacific don’t lose sight of some other contests around the world. Here is a look at the races we are watching in the runup to the US midterms.

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  • Winning the Competition for Influence in Central and Eastern Europe: US Assistant Secretary of State A. Wess Mitchell

    "Winning the Competition for Influence in Central and Eastern Europe"

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  • State Department Official Sounds Warning on Russian, Chinese Influence in Central and Eastern Europe

    ‘The return of great nation competition is the defining geopolitical fact of our time,’ says US Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell

    The United States’ rivals are “expanding their political, military, and commercial influence” in Central and Eastern Europe to the detriment of the Western alliance, A. Wess Mitchell, assistant secretary responsible for the US State Department’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs, said at the Atlantic Council in Washington on October 18.

    “The return of great nation competition is the defining geopolitical fact of our time,” Mitchell said, adding the warning that “for far too long the West did not take competition seriously” in Central and Eastern Europe. Content with the success of the post-Cold War period, officials in Europe and the United States have allowed growing Russian and Chinese influence in the region to “sneak up on us,” he contended.

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  • 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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  • Ukraine’s Golden Opportunity to Integrate with Europe That Everyone Has Overlooked

    Ukraine’s European aspirations are irreversible. A majority of the public supports NATO membership, and EU membership has long enjoyed popular support. However, wishing for integration does not make it happen. In both instances, Ukraine’s passage toward eligibility will be long and arduous. Nevertheless, opportunities are currently opening up for Ukraine to integrate with its European neighbors at the sub-regional level, in which selected countries from a larger region band together for a common purpose and share mutually beneficial investments. These opportunities are important and should not be overlooked.

    One such example of sub-regional cooperation among neighbors recently took place.

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  • Rick Perry to Europe: Energy Security Tantamount to National Security

    Describing energy security as “tantamount to national security,” US Energy Secretary Rick Perry urged Europe to reduce its dependence on Russian gas and diversify its energy sources.

    Europe’s dependence on Russian natural gas “is truly a cause for concern,” Perry said in remarks at the closing session of the Three Seas Initiative’s Business Forum in Bucharest on September 18.

    Perry also affirmed US President Donald J. Trump’s opposition to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which will deliver gas from Russia across the Baltic Sea to Germany and Western Europe. Supported by Berlin, Nord Stream 2 received an endorsement from Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen at the first day of the Three Seas summit on September 17. Central European countries and the United States oppose the project.

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