Central Europe

  • A Tribute to Wolfgang Ischinger

    US Marine Corps retired Gen. James L. Jones, Jr., interim chairman of the Atlantic Council board of directors, delivered this speech on March 1, 2018.

    Distinguished guests, your excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, Ambassador and Mrs. Ischinger.

    It is a great honor for me to be with you in city of Berlin, which holds such historical significance to Germany and to the transatlantic alliance.

    It is a particular pleasure to be able to pay an American tribute to my friend Ambassador Wolfgang Ischinger at this evening’s gala in his honor.

    Tonight, the American-Chamber of Commerce, Germany, recognizes Ambassador Ischinger for his unparalleled lifetime commitment to fostering German-American ties, and to his belief that a robust dialogue between Europe and the United States is as important today as it ever has been. 

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  • A Tale of Two Transitions

    Germany may have gained a grand coalition this week, but it lost one of the champions of its clean energy transition—the Energiewende—with the resignation of former State Secretary for Energy Rainer Baake.

    The Grand Coalition between Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and Social Democratic Party  (SPD) was approved by the SPD voters by a margin of 64 to 34 percent on March 4. While this enabled the formation of a new government, after six months of waiting for a governing coalition to be formed, it also spelled the end of Baake’s four-year tenure because he is a member of the Green Party, not included in the coalition. The now-former state secretary—often referred to as Mr. Energiewende—submitted his letter of resignation, calling the new governing coalition’s energy and climate aims, or lack thereof, a “bitter disappointment.”

    In his letter to the incoming Altmaier, Baake expressed disappointment with the absence of climate goals in the coalition agreement, based on the decision by CDU and SPD negotiators to essentially drop Germany’s 2020 emissions reduction goals, which the country is widely expected to miss.

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  • Angela Merkel: Time for a Legacy

    Now that the new German government has been approved by the political parties and can finally begin work, it is time for Angela Merkel to think about her own agenda for the next few years.

    At the start of her fourth—and presumably last—term as chancellor, she is politically weaker than she has been before, and thus must save her energy and influence for a few key issues. Merkel should never be underestimated—she is a survivor and could yet see reinvigorated public support and renewed political power. But the logical choice right now is for her to focus on issues that will build her legacy in Germany, in Europe, and in the world, including the transatlantic partnership.

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  • Fried Quoted in The Washington Post on U.S.- Poland Tensions


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  • In Germany, Social Democrats Give Merkel a Fourth Term

    The political uncertainty that had gripped Germany for the past five months was lifted on March 4. The Social Democratic Party (SPD) rank-and-file voted in favor of another grand coalition that would keep Angela Merkel chancellor of Germany for a fourth term. Sixty-six percent of the SPD’s members voted in support of a grand coalition; thirty-four percent opposed it.

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  • Trump May Get His Trade War After All

    US President Donald J. Trump’s surprise decision to impose tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, and a tweeted declaration that “trade wars are good” have set off alarm bells across the globe while causing the stock market to plunge.

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  • Cohen in The Hill: Germany and The US Need a New Beginning in Their Security Relationship


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  • 7 Things You Should Know About 'Mini Merkel'

    Under pressure to groom a successor, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has picked a “Mini Merkel” to take over as secretary general of her Christian Democrats (CDU).

    Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, a close ally of Merkel’s, is expected to be voted into her new role at the CDU congress on February 26. She will replace Peter Tauber who is stepping down after an illness.

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  • Braw in Frankfurter Allgemeine: German Voters are More Mature About Security


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  • What's the Deal?

    Atlantic Council analysts discuss agreement that could end political uncertainty in Germany

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel on February 7 moved a step closer to forming a coalition government that would include her conservative Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD).

    But first, more than 460,000 members of the SPD will need to approve the coalition agreement in a postal ballot. The results will be announced on March 4.

    Approval of the deal would end more than four months of political wrangling that have followed an inconclusive election in September and keep Merkel at the helm for a fourth term as chancellor.

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