Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Wake up, Merkel does not like Turkey!

Last week there was a lot of debate about Turkey and the EU and most leading Swedish newspapers thought it was a good idea to allow Turkey into the ante-room where negotiations can start (I wrote about that here). This week many of the same papers, most of the to the right of center of course, are singing praises to Germany’s soon-to-be new Chancellor Angela Merkel (I wrote about the German election here). Do they mention that Merkel is against Turkish membership of the EU? Of course not…

And an editorial in Dagens Nyheter today discusses the fact that in Sweden a negative majority in parliament is enough to form a government after an election (i.e. a government can be formed as long as a majority of the MPs are not voting against it). In Germany a positive majority is needed when a new Chancellor is elected (i.e. a majority of MPs will have to vote for Merkel, and the CDU/CSU and SPD has a solid majority in the Bundestag).

But the editorial in Dagens Nyheter does not mention two things. 1. The bad experience of the Weimar Republic is the key to understand why stronger governments are always sought in Germany. In Sweden minority governments have been reasonably solid, and the last right-wing government (1991-94) was a minority government as well. 2. The main reason why Merkel, and not Schröder, is forming the Grand coalition that will get the needed positive majority, is that the German tradition implies that the biggest party should always form the government and get the post as Chancellor. In Germany the broad center-left (SPD, Greens and Links/PDS) got more seats than the right (CDU/CSU and FDP). But the CDU/CSU got more seats than the SPD. And in Sweden the Social Democratic party has been the biggest party since the 1910s.

God I miss a Swedish morning newspaper to the left of center, like The Guardian, Le Monde or La Repubblica.


Anonymous Jon Worth said...

The SPD seem to have extracted a high price from the CDU for having Merkel there though - the Foreign and Finance ministries will be SPD run. Also, Merkel seems to have agreed to leave the Turkey issue to one side for now, or at least respect the fact that negotiations have opened.

The real cause for concern are the economic matters. What will she try to do? Will she manage to get the crazy VAT increase through? Also, the SPD will need to rejuvinate itself - I suppose that Muenterfering will be the main spokesperson now, but I have never warmed to him.

Fingers crossed it will all work... But Sweden really should not draw too many parallels with this!

12/10/05 18:10  

Post a Comment

<< Home