September 26, 2021 will mark the 20e post-war election of the German parliament. Usually, people don’t look to the German elections for fun and excitement. But this year’s elections are expected to have broad and new impacts on German citizens, the German economy and the country’s European neighbors.
The main effect of the upcoming elections is that Chancellor Angela Merkel will step down after spending 16 years at the epicenter of European politics. It is difficult for citizens – and the rest of the European continent – to imagine a Federal Republic of Germany without Chancellor Merkel at its head. Merkel has guided Germany through several key events, including the global recession and, most recently, immigration and integration issues.
Merkel’s most memorable legacy will be how she kept the European Union together for a decade in which no one expected the Union to meet the challenges it faced. The next chancellor has big shoes to fill – fight back Merkel’s steadfast leadership style facing virtual chaos will not be easy.
When it comes time to vote, the German people will have to decide whether they wish to continue on the path laid out by Merkel; or, if another route is needed, start a new adventure in this way.
There is a lot of talk about the possibility of the Greens taking the lead in the elections. A government led by this party would usher in radical change for the country and could meet with popular acceptance and enthusiasm. The Merkel cabinet has pledged that by 2045 Germany will significantly reduce its carbon emissions. Promises like this lay a good foundation for future climate-conscious governments. As environmental awareness becomes more and more popular, it is incumbent on national governments to mainstream these issues into their policies.
Responding well to the pandemic is a factor that German voters will take into account when it comes time to vote. Once notoriously austere in its fiscal policies, Germany’s response to the coronavirus crisis has been to go into debt so the government can absorb the worst fiscal effects the virus has had on the economy. By protecting its people in this way, Germany has shown itself to be a capable and compassionate European leader.
The manifestos presented by the various political parties in Germany show that the country does not only think about the well-being of the German people. Instead, Germany is carefully examining how its policies will affect the rest of the European continent.
Therefore, regional sentiment towards Germany is almost unanimously positive. Angela Merkel’s leadership style has had a constructive influence on continental opinion on Germany. Most European citizens think that Germany can lead competently the way in terms of fiscal policy, human rights and the maintenance of democracy.
Of all its political counterparts, Germany has a unique relationship with the United Kingdom. The fact that Brexit – the UK’s exit from the European Union – has not had a negative impact on Germany’s desire to maintain strong ties with the British shows how strong this relationship is. .
However, once politics is out of the question, it is clear that the upcoming elections risk causing a breakdown in German-British trade relations. While there is great respect among nations politically, economically the UK could lose its position as Germany’s largest trading partner.
In its attempt to absorb the worst of the pandemic, Germany has taken several cautious steps, including reducing its imports of British goods. The sectors most affected have been the pharmaceutical and agricultural sectors. For example, German demand for agricultural products from the UK fell significantly in the first two quarters of 2021.
The German stock market is also expected to be influenced by the rapidly approaching elections. Chancellor Merkel has done such a good job of keeping the German state on an equal footing that there is no peak in favor of nationalist and extremist election candidates. If there had been, German markets would be in disarray because no one wants to see a return to Germany’s worst pre-war decades.
Just like every other country on this earth, the coronavirus has had a severe impact on Germany. Specifically, it showed how little the country focuses on its infrastructure. It also showed that Germany’s digitization efforts were quite meager. The two digitization and finance are necessary for modern economies to participate in the global arena. As Germany has proven to be strong in its finances, it needs to apply the same industry to boost the digitization of its economy.
As mentioned earlier, Chancellor Merkel left an impressive legacy. While it is difficult to say for sure who will be the winner of the elections, what can be said with certainty is that this will be a coalition that will keep the best interests of the German public at its center and of the European Union at large.
Image by Félix Mittermeier