It was more a getting-to-know each other type of meeting and an opportunity to again clear the air, or at least clean the air of the former French President, Sarkozy.
President Hollande’s trip began in rather inauspicious circumstances when the President’s plane was apparently hit by lightning climbing out of Paris and had to return and then change to another aircraft.
However there seemed to be no lingering thunder or lightning between him and Ms Merkel when they met after a one hour delay.
It had not been so great a European last month for Chancellor Merkel and after local elections it just got a little worse. Local state elections in Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia- a western region of some 18 million people, gave the SPD opposition a clear mandate to govern and this was a clear rejection of the local CDU candidate.
However while many outsiders who do not know the nuances of German politics will think that perhaps the German side of the ‘Merkozy’ duo may be on a downward spiral, in fact this is hardly the case. Despite this rather embarrassing set-back for the local CDU conservatives, the German Chancellor will not join the ranks of the unemployed former European leaders any time soon.
Merkel is widely respected in the country, and while many dislike her party [this writer included] still she is respected and her rather pragmatic economic approach is widely accepted by most German voters nationally as perhaps painful but necessary.
Most Germans have rejected the idea of stimulating growth by running up even more debt and given her a muted passing mark over her handling of the German economy.
Having a fantastically capable and hard-working finance minister like Wolfgang Schäuble has certainly helped her sell her austerity package He is both smart and honest [for a CDU member at least!] and is respected in the country, as was the former SPD finance minister Peer Steinbrück, who may very well be nominated to stand against Merkel in the next national elections.
The opposition in the Bundestag parliament have said that they think this sends an important signal before national elections late next year however even this result will not change any balance of power nationally.
The national center-right coalition of Merkel’s CDU/CSU and the pro-market FDP are known more for their infighting than over issues they agree upon and both parties have not done well in several state elections in 2011 and now in the first 4 months of this year.
See also -http://www.ota-berlin.de/blog/01/21/german-foreign-minister-westerwelle-debunks-us-media-republican-candidates-for-caricature-of-europe-and-germany-as-inaccuarte-short-sighted-and-untrue-commentary-by-emil-hoogensteyn/
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Merkel meets Hollande in Berlin this evening – On the weekend SPD win big in German regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia – upstart Piraten Partie also do well – CDU loses big-time but Merkel’s national position as Chancellor unaffected- by OTA-Berlin Constituency blog contributor Emil Hoogensteyn from OTA Berlin is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Germany License. If you use this article or parts of it, please refer to http://www.ota-berlin.de.
Tags: Chancellor Merkel goes out on a political limb, Francois Hollande, French Elections - Chancellor Merkel, merkel-to-support-sarkozys-re-election, Peer Steinbrück, Piraten Partie, politics makes strange bedfellows, robin hood tax sarkozy, SPD win big in German regional elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, Tobin tax, upstart Piraten Partie, upstart Piraten Partie also do well – CDU loses big-time but Merkel’s national position as Chancellor unaffected, Wolfgang Schäuble