GERMANY: When Germany elects its political leadership, the rest of Europe holds its breath.
This is also what it looked like the weeks before the German election September 22. German electors ran towards the ballot box to decide who were to be in control the next four years.
Germany is the largest and most powerful country in Europe. Its central location, strong economy and 81 million inhabitants are reasons why Germany lists as the fourth largest economy in the world after the USA, China and Japan and the second largest exporter. We all know German brands such as Mercedes Benz, BMW, Audi, Siemens, Volkswagen, Bosch and Adidas. And there are plenty more that could be mentioned.
The last years the demand for German production equipment has been great from the important industrial countries in Southeast-Asia and South America. This has made German companies rich and the German state an economic center in the European Union. In Washington and Brussel, many expect that Germany exert global leadership that reflects the countries’ size and power.
The introduction of the Euro has also contributed to strengthening the German economic situation as a low and stable currency, low interests and low inflation is fortunate for exportation.
The Germans themselves do not seem eager to lead the world. Some say that the Germans would prefer to be a larger version of the small, neutral, but rich Switzerland. Although this is a joke, there might be some true to the saying. The German history still does put limits on radical politics. This is also reflected in the results of the 2013 election. There were no radical results.
Now, two months after the election, two months of negotiations, the parties have finally come to an agreement. An historic coalition has been agreed upon. The conservatives (CDU/CSU) and the social democratics (SPD) have agreed to create a government together. This preliminary success has been celebrated, though the government is still contingent on the yes of the members of the SPD.
For more information, read the full article on the election (in Norwegian) written by Kate Hansen Bundt.
A complementary article can be found in the Economist (in English).
For information on the new coalition (in Norwegian) read here.