Twilight of Merkel era is already closely watched in EU

Jennifer Rankin, The Guardian, 29.10.2018

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When Angela Merkel announced that she would not seek another term as German chancellor, for Brussels it was more like lengthening shadows at the end of the day than a storm out of the blue. [...]

“You will have a certain vacuum in Berlin, a chancellor who has already been weakened over the last months and years, who will not be strengthened by this,” said Janis Emmanouilidis, director of studies at the European Policy Centre.

Some EU diplomats had hoped that a summit in December would be the moment to make progress on a common European asylum policy and changes to the eurozone before European elections in 2019. “There are decisions to be taken in Brussels – tough ones. This won’t make things easier, it will make things more complicated,” Emmanouilidis said German chancellor’s struggles showed to rest of Europe that her authority is ebbing away. [...]

However, the weakening of the chancellor is unlikely to have an impact on Brexit. “Even among those who are critical of Angela Merkel, they are not critical of the chancellor with respect to Brexit: that’s not even an issue,” Emmanouilidis said. [...]

Even if Merkel’s final term ends sooner rather than later, Emmanouilidis does not see her making a move to Brussels. “Imagine president of the commission Merkel, or president of the European council Merkel, having to call Berlin and ask her successor for favours. I don’t see her doing that.”

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