The Brief, powered by AmCham EU – Curtains for Germany’s government

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It’s been exactly a year since the federal elections took place in Germany, on 24 September 2017. A year after, vessel Germany is floating aimlessly in stormy waters, its commanding team proving incapable of setting a direction. And no safe shore is in sight.

On Sunday evening, the coalition government of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU/CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD) staved off its collapse by reaching yet another compromise, this time over the fate of the embattled ex-intelligence chief.

Hans-Georg Maaßen will stay in the Interior Ministry as a consultant. The controversial intelligence chief will get the position of a “special adviser to the Federal Minister of the Interior” and operate in the rank of head of department.

With a B9 salary level, which corresponds to a gross income of €11,500 per month, he will receive no salary increase.

His task will include “European and international affairs”, which involves the agreement of repatriation agreements for refugees with other European countries as well as agreements with African countries.

But the latest compromise will not manage to stifle the enormous public outcry which emerged in Germany following Maaßen‘s demotion-promotion. On the contrary, it is only refuelling the criticism of the coalition government, known as ‘GroKo’ in Germany.

“New elections now!” columnist Jakob Augstein appealed in Der Spiegel, calling the current government a bunch of ridicule.

“Horst Seehofer is out of control. Angela Merkel is just watching. And Andrea Nahles is simply overwhelmed. She made one mistake – and when she wanted to correct it, she made yet another one. It’s enough. This government is finished. It should resign,” the respected German journalist and publisher wrote.

Augstein argues that citizens should now be able to elect another government, but in Germany, mainstream politicians are increasingly afraid of the voters because of the rise of the far-right AfD and this is hindering the democratic process.

But the upcoming Bavarian election might rock HMS Deutschland even more strongly.

Just three weeks before the elections take place, polls released today show that support for the CSU remains at an all-time low of 36%.

AfD is expected to reach 13.2%, shedding 0.5 percentage point compared to two weeks ago but still in front of the SPD, which is predicted to get 12% of the votes.

But not all is bleak. Unnoticed in the shadow of the populists’ rise, one political group is emerging as the big winner: the Greens. They are nearing the 20% bar, gaining 1.4% in the last two weeks to reach 17.9%.

The oh so unpopular GroKo is facing its final curtain, and the coup de grace may come from Bavaria.


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The Roundup

By Alexandra Brzozowski

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A “game-changing” development for the housing market takes place as banks join up to EU-backed pilot scheme for green mortgages.

In a late-night meeting, the UK’s opposition Labour Party debated an exit from Brexit and took a decision to adopt a stance on their support for a second Brexit referendum by conducting a vote among members.

Last week’s hide-and-seek game is over: the Commission referred Poland to EU’s top court, upping the ante in the dispute with Warsaw over a controversial legislation on the judiciary.

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Look out for…

Commissioners on tour: Jean-Claude Juncker, Frans Timmermans, Federica Mogherini and Cecilia Malmström will hold political talks in New York at the United Nations General Assembly this week.

Views are the author’s

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