On Wednesday night, German political parties announced the conclusion of negotiations and the formation of a coalition government that will officially mark the end of Angela Merkel’s sixteen years as Chancellor.
On September 26th, 2021, the center-left German party, the Social Democrats (SPD) had a narrow victory in the German elections.
SPD won the elections with 25.7 percent of the vote, while Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) had the lowest results in its history with 24.1 percent.
Now, almost two months after the elections, it was agreed that SPD’s candidate for Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, will be Germany’s next leader. The negotiations for a coalition government were between the SPD, the ALLIANCE 90/THE GREENS (Green Party,) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP).
German Coalition Government Statements
The coalition government is being referred to as “The Traffic Light Coalition,” on account of the parties’ colors: red, green, and yellow.
Reuters reports that in a news conference in Berlin, following the announcement of his Chancellorship, Scholz began his remarks by stating “The first traffic light (in Germany) was erected in Berlin in 1924 in Potsdamer Platz. At that time, it was still an unusual technology. ‘Can it work?’ people asked skeptically.”
The future Chancellor continued the allegory by concluding, “Today, the traffic light is indispensable when it comes to regulating things clearly and providing the right orientation and ensuring that everyone moves forward safely and smoothly. My ambition as Chancellor is that this traffic light alliance will play a similarly groundbreaking role for Germany.”
Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habec, chairpersons of the Green Party, published a statement online, saying “The country is facing major challenges. The pandemic must be managed, the climate crisis contained, sustainable prosperity must be re-established, and cohesion redefined in social change.
“All this requires changes. With this coalition agreement, after intensive negotiations, we have succeeded in setting the course for this.”
A few weeks prior to the coalition agreement, Volker Wissing, the FDP’s General-Secretary, posted on the organization’s website, “Young people want us to tackle problems, take modernization steps. This cannot be done through formula compromises and test orders, but only with concrete agreements. But we are very confident that we will achieve our goals.”
The newly-formed coalition German government will bring about major changes from the preceding sixteen years of Merkel’s CDU party, as indicated by the coalition members’ statements.
Future of Greek-German Relations
In a Pew Research Study from September 2021, Greeks’ views on Merkel and Germany were unfavorable — in direct contrast with the majority of Europe and the rest of the world.
According to the study, only 30 percent of respondents believed Merkel’s actions would be good for global affairs and only 32 percent had a favorable view of Germany. Furthermore, only 10% of Greek respondents believed that Germany has the right amount of influence in Europe, which was much lower than the median of 54%.