On March 25 the anniversary summit of the EU took place in Rome. It was dedicated to the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, which laid the foundation for the future European Union. The current meeting was held in the same place as 60 years ago, in the Hall of Horatii and Curiatii of the Capitoline Palace of the Conservatives.
However, now, the heads of state signed a document that doesn’t inspire optimism. This is a declaration about the future of the European Union after Brexit. On paper they agreed to be together and act jointly, but actually the topic of multi-speed Europe, meaning that some countries are more equal than the others, continues to eat away the souls.
Now, there are four countries that want to be more equal than the others: Germany, France, Italy and Spain. They want to create some kind of a union inside the union and cooperate more closely in the spheres of defense and social policy. This is what is meant by multi-speed Europe. That is, Angela Merkel is taking on a new challenge. For the all-German «mommy», it was an especially difficult day. It can be said that the «rehearsal» of the federal parliamentary elections officially began in Germany. In the federal state of Saar, people voted for the local parliament, Landtag.
As soon as May 7, elections to the Landtag will be held in Schleswig-Holstein, a week later — in North Rhine-Westphalia. The main struggle for Angela Merkel and her party, CDU, will be against the Social Democrats with their new leader, Martin Schulz. Mikhail Antonov will talk about the current state of affairs in Germany and the primary results. Against the backdrop of alarming situation around the elections in France, the voters of the most French of all German lands seem to have pleased their chancellor.
According to the latest data, Merkel's Christian Democratic Union is gaining 41% of the votes in the Saar elections. It’s enough to dictate the terms of the coalition to the main competitors, Social Democrats of Martin Schulz. They have 29.5%. We couldn’t do what we intended, but it doesn’t mean that we didn’t achieve our goal. And our goal is to change the government of Germany. The Social Democrats had the objective of sharing power with the left and, possibly, the greens. Their intention was to run this scenario and try to implement it in September, already during the federal elections. It didn’t work out. The left gained 13%. The greens didn't pass, but the Eurosceptics from the Alternative for Germany did gaining 6%.
In any case, this is not a tragedy for the Social Democrats, because, according to sociologists, electoral moods of 800 thousand people from a small western land don’t reflect the sentiment of the German population of 80 million. Schulz has good chances. «Mr. 100 Percent» is what the former President of the European Parliament is being called after his candidacy was supported by all delegates of the party conference for the first time in 153 years of the party's existence. You can start chanting, shout «Martin!». They are chanting, although the program of the Social Democrats, just like in Merkel's party, has not yet been formulated.
Meanwhile, the «Schulz effect» is working. He is a new person, he represents fresh trends, he has a beard. The success of Martin Schulz also shows that Germany misses politics not only aiming at efficient and prudent governance. Citizens miss venturesome politicians who are ready to fight for power and don’t hide their intentions. Perhaps, they want to see a man as their chancellor. Polls show that 45% of Germans would like to see a «man from Brussels» as their new chancellor. Only 36% choose Merkel. Members of the CDU are nervous, because their captain is dozing. Spiegel magazine titled one of its materials about the Chancellor with a direct «Wake up!». But Merkel isn’t in a hurry to wake up, perhaps, in order not to make new mistakes, because the program of the Chancellor now is an attempt to repent of previous failures, of Germany or the European Union with its direct participation. I think that we haven’t done everything well. Opening the external borders, we didn’t think about strengthening them. Introducing a single currency, we weren’t ready for a crisis. Debt and migration crises, Brexit and the ultra-right, as the Alternative for Germany gained 10%, all this undermines the European Union from within.
In foreign issues — a ruined relationship with Russia as well as incomprehensible and unpleasant Trump. Merkel’s visit to Washington only stressed the tautness between the allies. Finally, there is a wild squabbling with Erdogan and tension with Israel. It’s difficult for Merkel to offer any positive agenda to her voters. Her hopes to stay in office are connected with German conservatism. Indeed, most of them still consider the current big coalition of the CDU and the SPD as the preferred configuration of power for the next four years. Merkel doesn't need much here, just to stay as the «senior partner».
If the Eurosceptics from the Alternative for Germany, hated by all classic parties without exception, gain their 10-11%, it will exclude the option of any coalition, except for a large one. At the same time, according to the recent polls, the CDU and the SPD are winning about the same number of votes, 32% each. This means that Merkel and Schulz now have absolutely equal chances of becoming the next chancellor.