Merkel exploring coalition options as she pursues strong European policy
Chris off The German elections – what's the voters' message from the outcome? What impact on Germany and Europe?
Chris on Hello and welcome to People First, the EPP Group's monthly program on issues with impact on people like you.
Chris on Joining us to answer your questions is Elmar Brok, a German member of the EPP Group and is also chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee here, at the European Parliament. Mr. Brok, what is to you the main message of the voters in this election?
Elmar Brok, German MEP The main message is that Ms Merkel has a pro-European policy it will stabilise Germany more, it will go economically forward and at the same time believes that Germany is only successful if Europe is successful. So, I'm sure that she will work for more competitiveness of Europe as a hole.
Chris on But what about that message for the 4.7 points 4.8 points of the "Alternative fuer Deutschland" , these people who are angry about how things are going.
Elmar Brok, German MEP Look, you always have populists in every country, Eurosceptics, but it's not only just Eurosceptics. TRight wing positions you have everywhere. In countries like Britain, France they have 20 – 30 per cent, in Germany less than 5 per cent.
Chris on Let's get a little more of an explainer from our report before we go to our questions. Here we go.
As Germany's most popular politician, her steady hand on the ship of state has earned her the nickname "Mutti."
Chancellor Angela Merkel and her EPP-led coalition have navigated the country through the worst global financial crisis since the Great Depression, and driven Germany further forward as the main engine behind Europe's economy.
After the Bundestag elections, where to now? With her traditional coalition partners, the Free Democrats, knocked out of the Bundestag, Merkel is exploring other options. The coalition Merkel builds, and under what terms, will determine not only the future of Germany but also that of the European Union.
Merkel insisted on tough economic reform among troubled Eurozone countries in exchange for bailouts that drew criticism among Germans tired of bearing the financial burden.
But Merkel has managed to persuade most Germans that solidarity with the rest of the EU is in their interest, to guarantee a single market of a half billion people for Germany's economy, and in turn its jobs.
Will the next coalition government bring continuity? Or are Germany and the rest of the EU in for surprises?
Chris on Could there be some surprises maybe in the formation of the coalition? You know I thought that it was interesting that the Financial Times said in its editorial that Merkel is a misunderstood visionary of Europe. You agree with that?
Elmar Brok, German MEP I agree with that. I think she believes that she is in the line of the policy of Konrad Adenauer and Helmut Kohl. She wants European integration, and she as an East German has much more the feeling what Europe means to me in a free society. And therefore I think she does it technically, she goes step by step, step by step, is her policy style but she never forgets the goal.
Chris on But I think that the point that we also made in this report too is that she has tied German interest, she has not avoided talking about German interest. In tying that to the euro and the European Union. That is something rather new, isn't it?
Elmar Brok, German MEP No, I think that it is not new. I think every policy has to look also in the national interest. But for her policy is, that she believes that German and European interests are identical. That no national interest alone can be carried out anymore. This is a global order. National policy alone is too weak; every European country is too small in this global context, and even Germany. Therefore the future of Europe is only if the Europeans are together.
Chris on Let's go to our first question, this from one of your countrymen.
MOS question Hello my name
Ioannis ZografosEPP TV Managing ProducerBelgiumIoannis.firstname.lastname@example.org+32(0) 2 284 18 45