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German voters deal a blow to Macron’s EU reform drive

Sep 25, 2017 | News

(25 September 2017) – Angela Merkel may be too busy holding together an unwieldy coalition to act as an effective partner for the French president’s bold plans, which he will outline on Tuesday (26 September).

© Ludovic Marin / AFP

Since he was elected French president four months ago, Emmanuel Macron has been promising to roll out an ambitious reform programme for the European Union. But he said he would wait until after the German election to unveil his bold plans. Now, it is clear why that was so necessary.

Though it still won far more votes than any other party, Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc lost 8% of the vote share it won in the last election in 2013. The centre-left SPD, her coalition partner for the past four years, suffered its worst result in history, even though it came in second place.

That means Merkel will have to form a coalition with the free-market FDP and the ecologist Greens – the ‘Jamaica coalition’, so-called because of the three parties’ colours. Finding agreement between these two parties will be difficult.

Merkel will be left weakened, and she is unlikely to have much extra time to devote to Macron’s grand project. “The way forward is going to be difficult and treacherous,” said Reinhard Bütikofer, co-chair of the European Greens, last night. (EurActiv)

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