Lets talk about something other than Barcelona, (where 13 died and 100 were injured when a van swerved onto a crowded footpath) or Charlottesville (Goddammit Trump). I’ve had my rant for this week, so today I’m going to be more measured. Which means talking about something else, I’m afraid.
Lets talk about Merkel and Schulz. Currently it’s very likely that Merkel will win the election and claim a fourth term as Chancellor of Germany, she currently has a 15 point lead over her rival, or rather her party the CDU has, and is currently on a 50-stop tour of Germany to cement that lead. Schulz meanwhile is not only indefatigable, he is if anything growing more bold, with accusations of costly military spending in line with Trumps rhetoric (a convenient boogeyman in Germany and much of Europe right now, though it should be said that reaching that 2% military spending mark is an expectation of the NATO agreement) attacking Merkels left flank. Coupled with attacks from her right regarding the refugee crisis and the incidents that have spawned because of her decision to let in 1 million refugees into Germany, it may yet be a tighter race than expected.
On the other hand, people like Merkel. And they don’t really care about Schulz; though he remains a popular leader on the left, there is a conservative leaning to the populace, one hesitant of bearing the burden of European debt and risking their own current economic success.
Meanwhile the third place winner may well be where the power really lies, beyond Merkel that is. Currently it’s a contest between the solidly left Green party, the liberal (that is European liberal, so very much freedom for the individual, conservative leaning right) Free Democrats, or FDP, with the Alternative for Germany lagging in the polls. Basically it’s a question of who will be the coalition partner for Merkels CDU, and how that will play out in regards to EU integration and change to ensure better growth and prosperity for the Bloc, or whether the priority will remain in Germany, at possible the expense of the EU.
Personally I think the FDP, the party that cares less about encouraging the EU growth and more about Germany’s wallet, would do well to remember how important the bloc is to regionally stability, and economic growth. And it’s unpopularity. Letting it fail because of pride and a single minded focus on Germany at the expense of the Bloc may well only end up hurting Germany in the long run.
If that is your priority though, then by all means focus on Germany. But don’t claim to be the leader of Europe if you’re not willing to bear the cost.