What would the victory of Merkel mean to Lithuania?

Merkel and Skvernelis
AFP / Scanpix

The fourth term of Angela Merkel as the German chancellor would be a good sign for Lithuania and Europe because after “Brexit“, migrants and economic crisis stability is needed. In addition, A. Merkel’s position on Russia is very important.

This is what political scientists, interviewed by LRT.lt, say. However, even though some German political analysts predict another term for A. Merkel, a political scientist Rima Urbonaitė states factors that may create issues for this politician.

It appears that German Christian Democratic Party (CDU) is on the path towards winning: on Sunday it won in the Parliament elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, writes dw.com. This is the third regional elections that this party has won this year. According to German political analysts this is a sign that A. Merkel might remain for a fourth term in the post of German chancellor.

A good sign for us, a bad one for Russia

Vytautas Keršanskas, who is an analyst in Eastern Europe Studies Center (EESC), says that there is a high probability that A. Merkel will stay for a fourth term in the office of German chancellor, and it’s favourable for us.

“Without a doubt it’s a good sign for us in terms of foreign policy and policy towards Russia. After Russia began its intervention in Ukraine, A. Merkel was the politician that has consolidated today’s position in Europe. It would be difficult to imagine the extending of sanctions without the current German leadership.

The Social Democrats are usually seen as more likely to have a pragmatic position towards Russia. We could expect a much more pragmatic approach from Martin Schulz towards Russia, attempts to have an agreement, negotiate the de-escalation of conflicts” says the political scientist.

Tomas Janeliūnas, professor at Institute of International Relations and Political Science, and political scientist Rima Urbonaitė at MRU have the same position. R. Urbonaitė states that since the German position towards Russia leads to a strong Baltic-German military cooperation, for us A. Merkel is security guarantee.

Europe needs stability but does it need the EU vision of A. Merkel?

Political scientist V. Keršansakas considers how much A. Merkel’s European policy matches our interests, when several scenarios of Europe’s future are being considered, and a two-speed Europe is one of them.

“It seems A. Merkel is for the creation of the core and the periphery. It’s a question for a discussion whether it matches our interests. I think that a multi-speed Europe is not the best way for the states that may have a more reserved approach, mainly that is the Central and Eastern European states.

However, since our foreign policy priorities are based on the security, and deterrence of Russia, A. Merkel’s fate in her positions is a positive sign. We see that populist and pragmatic tendencies aren’t taking root in German politics” says he.

T. Janeliūnas states that the fourth term of A. Merkel would mean that the most important country in the EU is maintaining stability, which is necessary for Europe.

“In the terms of the EU, stability is very welcomed after “Brexit”, migrants, and the economic crisis. No one wants a political shock and in a way a change of Government leaders is a shock.

When talking about EU’s future scenarios, at first glance their attitude seems not in our favour because we wouldn’t be in line to be one of the core EU countries, and no one wants to be a periphery. However, the formation of two-speed can be quite different: it may be that different coalitions will appear in different areas” said T. Janeliūnas.

It’s too early to celebrate victory

According to R. Urbonaitė, the rise of A. Merkel and her party from a political downfall was due to the fact that she partially acknowledged that she had been wrong in being unconditionally open to migrants and that she promised to find a solution to the problems.

“She saw the gaps that were created by the openness. On the one hand, she admitted partially that at one point the situation became hard to control, on the other hand, she made it clear that the situation won’t be abandoned and certain measures will be taken. The big question is how to they will be implemented, since it’s an important factor as well.

Another case, which will be linked to immigrants, can turn everything around so I think that the critical moment is not behind yet: she has to be vigilant and monitor the situation to see if it’s not getting worse. And it could get worse any moment because there are a few people who can worsen the situation” said R. Urbonaitė.

While the success of A. Merkel in the regional elections is a good sign, R. Urbonaitė said that we should wait for the last month right before the election.

“The question is whether success in regional elections is going to provoke such actors like Russia, to take certain measures. We know that Russia shows some intention once in a while and even Germany talks about is, who is aware of the threats. However, it seems that Germany has immunity, and if it remains until the election in September, it’s likely that we’ll see a positive result – a key player in the EU will remain predictable and consistent” said R. Urbonaitė.

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