Posts in "Germany" Category

Berlin 2016 – A state election with national impact

Latest update from the German state election includes: SPD Mayor remains in office, Grand coalition lost voters’ trust, AfD attracted non voters, FDP back in Parliament, pirates out.

Government parties suffer
The incumbent mayor Michael Müller and his SPD won the state elections with 21.6% of the votes. Müller succeeded the popular Klaus Wowereit in office in 2014 and governed in a grand coalition since. Both parties, the social democratic SPD and the conservative CDU, achieved their worst result in history in a Berlin state election. The Left Party and the Greens gained almost equal number of votes (15.6% and 15.2%), the liberal FDP re-enters the Parliament.

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Super Sunday shakes the centre in Germany

The results of the ‘Super Sunday’ regional elections in Baden-Wurttemberg, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saxony-Anhalt have shaken up German politics.

In all three states, the parties of the incumbent minister-presidents came out on top in what were personality-driven elections. But each will be forced to build new coalitions to form a government.

The Christian Democrats of Chancellor Angela Merkel (pictured), and her centre-left Social Democrat coalition partners, suffered substantial losses.

With the next federal elections only 18 months away, the results will have significant consequences for German and European politics.

Download our briefing (PDF)

Words  Christian Thams (Burson-Marsteller Berlin)
Photo  (c) European Union, 2016

Ten years of Merkel: from Mädchen to Europe’s leader

2015 is a historic year for Germany: 25 years ago East and West Germany were reunited after 40 years of separation.

The reunification paved the way for yet another milestone as, in 2005, the Christian Democrats’ Angela Merkel, raised and educated in the East German Democratic Republic, was elected the first female Chancellor in German history.

We take a look back at ten years of Merkel as Chancellor.

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A trio of troubles in Tusk’s in-tray

??????????????????????????????????The final piece of Europe’s jigsaw is almost in place.

On Monday, Donald Tusk (pictured above) – elected by the national leaders at the end of August, becomes President of the European Council. But what faces the former Polish prime minister when he arrives in his new office on Monday?

Herman Van Rompuy – Tusk’s predecessor in the role – identified three key issues when the new President was unveiled in the summer. None of the these three issues has become simpler in the last three months.

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A five-point guide to the EU top jobs puzzle

This weekend, the European Council will meet again to decide on the holders of the EU’s top jobs.

Here’s our five-point guide to Saturday’s meeting and what it means – and have your say on one of the key issues of the summer by voting in our poll.

1. Time for action

hvr squareAfter the failure to agree on the top jobs at the last summit in July, European Union leaders are under pressure to reach an accord. The European Council is increasingly gaining a reputation as an institution that takes too long to decide anything, and whose decisions are often ‘fudges’.

Saturday is the crunch moment: if EU leaders fail to conclude a ‘package’ of appointments, it will put paid to any remote hopes of appointing the Commission on time. More importantly in the long term, it will increase popular and global perceptions of the EU as a sclerotic organisation. Herman Van Rompuy (pictured left), the President of the European Council, was criticised by EU leaders and many analysts for not preparing a watertight deal before July’s summit (although he was not helped by some prime ministers). The President will not want another failure.

The decisions are not easy: there are significant political, institutional and personal headaches for the 28 leaders. But the leaders are there to lead, and to decide. It’s time to act.

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Herman’s checklist: finding a balance for the EU’s top jobs

9157497455_724ede816a_h - UPDATEDA big week, and a careful balancing act

This time next week, Angela Merkel will be celebrating her sixtieth birthday – and short of anything better to cheer, the rest of the European Council will probably be celebrating the end of the gruelling quinquennial EU top jobs race.

Tuesday (15 July) sees the election of the new President of the European Commission. Jean-Claude Juncker does not quite have his feet under the desk yet, but the ‘grand coalition’ that held for Martin Schulz’s election as President of the European Parliament is expected to hold and see Juncker made President-elect.

And then, on Wednesday, the rest of the pieces of the top jobs jigsaw are expected to be put into place.

The European Council, denied a backroom deal over the Commission presidency, can (more or less) get back to old ways with its selection of a new President of the European Council and a new High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (although the choice for the latter position is one for leaders to take with the President-elect). A new permanent president for the Eurogroup (finance ministers of eurozone countries) is also expected to be named.

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The new European Parliament on Twitter: look who’s talking

BeFunky_infographic.jpg

Download our PDF infographic of the new European Parliament on Twitter

As predicted, more MEPs are on Twitter than ever before (531 compared to 408 in the previous EP), and almost half are tweeting every day.

Our infographic of the new European Parliament on Twitter shows this increase in the number of Twitter users also brings in some significant new faces: Pablo Iglesias, a Spanish Podemos MEP who is the radical left candidate for the presidency of the European Parliament, has more than 400,000 followers – far ahead of leading tweeters from the last parliament (such as Marine Le Pen, Martin Schulz or Nigel Farage). The GUE/NGL Group also has the biggest proportion of daily tweeters.

On the opposite side of the hemicycle, nearly 80% of MEPs from the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD) Group are on Twitter. The group also features the Parliament’s two most prolific tweeters (both new MEPs from the UK Independence Party – it remains to be seen if they will remain so active when they take up their roles as MEPs).

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Britain at the heart of Europe – on Twitter, at least

Vienna GfK studyNever mind the Pollock-style imagery: Axel Maireder‘s data-rich map of the European Twittersphere contains some fascinating insights into online conversations around the European Parliament elections.

Behind the explosion of colours is two months of tweets about the elections analysed by Maireder and his team at the University of Vienna, in collaboration with market research institute GfK. They tracked more than 1.3 million tweets from nearly half a million Twitter users to develop a map of the online political landscape.

Read the study by the University of Vienna and GfK Read more on the GfK website

The map – which features the 11,844 accounts that tweeted at least once about the elections and which were followed by at least 250 other accounts that also tweeted – helpfully visualises the most important and influential users who talked about the 25 May polls. Larger dots indicate a larger number of followers; the closer they are plotted, the greater the similarity in their followings.

But what is the meaning of this map and this data? And how can we use it?

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Building a new Commission – the runners and riders for the next College

[infopane color=”6″ icon=”0049.png”]Post updated later on Wednesday 11 June to account for news that Dacian Cioloș (Agriculture and Rural Development; Romania) may be re-nominated to the Commission.[/infopane]

With the choice of a President of the European Commission still up in the air, we are a long way off knowing the full team that will occupy the upper floors of the Berlaymont for the next five years.

Nevertheless, national governments are already putting forward their proposed nominees to sit in the new College. Here’s our look at the comings and goings in the Commission in 2014, and the potential candidates to take a seat in the new Commission.

If you have comments or suggestions, please include them in the comments box.

See our country-by-country guide to the potential nominees

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Who’s going where? Tracking the musical chairs in the European Parliament

[infopane color=”5″ icon=”0049.png”]Please note that since the constitutive session of the European Parliament on 1 July 2014, this page is no longer being updated.[/infopane]
EPP S&D ALDE G/EFA ECR EFDD GUE/NGL NI
221 191 67 50 70 48 52 52
27 countries 28 countries 21 countries 17 countries 15 countries 7 countries 14 countries 10 countries
The 2014 European elections brought 34 new parties or independent candidates to the European Parliament.

Now, many of those new MEPs are seeking to join political groups to strengthen their voice in the Parliament, while a battle goes on between the groups to attract new members that help ensure their survival and maximise their influence, speaking time and funding.

One new group – the European Alliance for Freedom – has also been mooted as a way to bring together anti-EU parties on the radical right. To form this and other groups, a minimum of 25 MEPs are needed, representing at least seven member states.

At the same time, other parties are considering changing groups or allying themselves to a group for the first time.

Take a look at our table listing the parties up for grabs, based on the vast array of information from intelligence we have gathered and media reports – and contribute via the button below or the comments box at the bottom of the page.

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