Germany

1. Euroscepticism and European Parliament election

Julian Plot­t­ka

Low Interest in Europeanised Campaigns

The fol­low­ing EU lev­el issues were the main points of dis­cus­sion dur­ing the cam­paigns: migra­tion poli­cies and free move­ment of work­ers with­in the EU in con­junc­tion with the alle­ga­tion of social ben­e­fits fraud; Euro­pean bureau­cra­cy; the scope of EU com­pe­tences and sub­sidiar­i­ty; youth unem­ploy­ment and aus­ter­i­ty; and the Transat­lantic Trade and Invest­ment Part­ner­ship. With the excep­tion of the free move­ment of work­ers, none of these issues pro­voked a polarised debate. The media cov­er­age was rather low, while the Ukrain­ian cri­sis was the most impor­tant EU issue in Ger­man media in April/May 2014. The Social­ist par­ty ‘Die Linke’ tried to cam­paign by crit­i­cis­ing the Ger­man For­eign Minister’s (Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier) Ukraine pol­i­cy. Lead­ing can­di­date of the Chris­t­ian Social Union (CSU), Markus Fer­ber, made a sim­i­lar attempt to crit­i­cise him. But in gen­er­al, nation­al pol­i­tics were dom­i­nat­ing the head­lines dur­ing the Euro­pean elec­tion cam­paigns.

Variable Visibility of the ‘Spitzenkandidaten’

In addi­tion to vis­i­bil­i­ty gained through his lengthy prepa­ra­tions for can­di­da­cy as ‘Spitzenkan­di­dat’ (front-run­ners) for the Par­ty of Euro­pean Social­ists, Mar­tin Schulz was also very vis­i­ble in his cam­paign as fron­trun­ner of the SPD. In a last-minute cam­paign Mar­tin Schulz even adver­tised “Vote Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic to have a Ger­man becom­ing Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent.” In the last polls before the Euro­pean elec­tions 39 per­cent of Ger­man vot­ers want­ed him to become the next Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (com­pared to the 22 per­cent of vot­ers favour­ing Jean-Claude Junck­er).

The Chris­t­ian Democ­rats (CDU/CSU) were shy with their par­ty family’s ‘Spitzenkan­di­dat’, Junck­er, and their own fron­trun­ner, David McAl­lis­ter, who was a defeat­ed Prime Min­is­ter of Low­er-Sax­ony. While the lat­ter hard­ly appeared in pub­lic, the for­mer was only a lit­tle more vis­i­ble. Schulz and Junck­er par­tic­i­pat­ed in two TV debates, which were fol­lowed by media com­ments crit­i­cis­ing their polit­i­cal sim­i­lar­i­ty. Most of the region­al branch­es of CDU/CSU decid­ed not to print Juncker’s por­trait on posters, and instead, posters show­ing Angela Merkel hung all over Ger­many. The CDU Vice Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment, Rain­er Wieland, com­ment­ed: “Only with Merkel we can reach vot­ers.”

The oth­er EU-wide ‘Spitzenkan­di­dat­en’ were hard­ly vis­i­ble. ‘Die Linke’ fol­lowed the CDU strat­e­gy and did not cam­paign with Alex­is Tsipras, but fea­tured their nation­al politi­cians. The Green ‘Spitzenkan­di­datin’ from Ger­many, Ska Keller, was slight­ly more vis­i­ble, but the nation­al fron­trun­ners dom­i­nat­ed the Green cam­paign in Ger­many. The Lib­er­als (FDP) were hard­ly vis­i­ble and also focused on their nation­al fron­trun­ner, Alexan­der Graf Lamb­s­dorff.

Com­men­ta­tors on the next steps to elect the Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion are split in two camps: one group argues that it was fore­see­able that the Euro­pean Coun­cil will not respect the vot­ers’ deci­sion and the oth­er group was expect­ing that it will nom­i­nate the win­ning ‘Spitzenkan­di­dat’.

How­ev­er, both camps crit­i­cise that Junck­er has not been nom­i­nat­ed yet. Math­ias Döpfn­er, pub­lish­er of the Ger­man news­pa­per Bild, wrote that ‘[a] third [can­di­date], who didn’t stand for elec­tion, can’t be allowed to get the job.’ The Brus­sels cor­re­spon­dent of the pub­lic broad­cast­er West­deutsch­er Rund­funk (WDR), Rolf-Dieter Krause, com­ment­ed: ‘Mr. Cameron is impor­tant, but 370 mil­lion vot­ers are more impor­tant.’ Philoso­pher Jür­gen Haber­mas declared the lat­ter option to be ‘wil­ful dam­age’ of EU democ­ra­cy. Ger­man Vice Chan­cel­lor, Sig­mar Gabriel, con­sid­ered the lat­ter option the ‘biggest act of dumb­ing down the peo­ple’. The SPD backs Junck­er, while the Greens declare that only a ‘Spitzenkan­di­dat’ can become Com­mis­sion Pres­i­dent. Even a con­sid­er­able num­ber of Chris­t­ian Democ­rats expect­ed Merkel to sup­port Junck­er includ­ing: Elmar Brok, MEP, Gun­ther Krich­baum, chair of the EU affairs com­mit­tee in the Bun­destag, and Peter Alt­maier, Head of the Fed­er­al Chan­cellery. He called the sup­port of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment polit­i­cal groups’ chairs for Junck­er ‘the begin­ning of a demo­c­ra­t­ic ®evo­lu­tion: His­to­ry in the mak­ing!’ Obvi­ous­ly Merkel had not expect­ed the sup­port to be so wide­spread when she refused to back him dur­ing the infor­mal Euro­pean Coun­cil meet­ing on 27 May 2014. It took three more days until she declared her sup­port for Junck­er.

Eurosceptics: A New Party in Town

Found­ed in 2013, the ‘Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land’ (Alter­na­tive for Ger­many — AfD) is in oppo­si­tion to the Ger­man government’s Euro zone pol­i­cy. It failed to pass the bar­ri­er clause in the last fed­er­al elec­tions, but received 7 per­cent of votes in the Euro­pean elec­tions. They cam­paigned for the exit from the Euro zone, of either the pro­gramme coun­tries or Ger­many. Fur­ther­more, they com­plained about not being treat­ed fair­ly in the media and by oth­er par­ties, as well as about dam­aged cam­paign posters.

So far, it is unclear whether the AfD is a short-term protest par­ty or a new right-wing mem­ber of Germany’s par­ty sys­tem. Exit polls reveal that AfD vot­ers are even­ly dis­trib­uted over all parts of soci­ety. Only vot­ers hold­ing low edu­ca­tion­al degrees are less like­ly to vote for the AfD, what coun­ters the short-term protest par­ty assump­tion. To date, it is still unclear whether the AfD is a Euroscep­tic or a right-wing extrem­ist par­ty. This will depend on whether the Lib­er­al or the Nation­al Con­ser­v­a­tive group with­in in it will become dom­i­nant. Both groups agree on Euroscep­tic posi­tions but quar­rel about the par­ty man­i­festo, which has not yet been adopt­ed. Dur­ing its cam­paign, the AfD tried to present itself as not being an extrem­ist par­ty even if some of its cam­paign posters dis­played a slo­gan used by the right-wing extrem­ist NPD (“Wir sind nicht das Welt­sozialamt” – We are not the glob­al wel­fare wel­fare office”).

But the AfD already had direct impact on the oth­er par­ties, espe­cial­ly the CDU and CSU, which fear the estab­lish­ment of a new right-wing par­ty. First, all par­ties, except the Greens, demand­ed more sub­sidiar­i­ty in EU pol­i­cy. Sec­ond, the CSU fol­lowed a dou­ble track approach in its cam­paign. It pro­mot­ed pro-Euro­pean pol­i­cy, while pre­sent­ing itself as a Euroscep­tic par­ty. It cam­paigned against the EU acces­sion of Turkey and the free move­ment of work­ers, assum­ing that they seek social ben­e­fits. While the CDU pre­sent­ed itself more pro-Euro­pean, some CDU politi­cians fol­lowed the CSU strat­e­gy. Elmar Brok, for instance, pro­posed com­pul­so­ry fin­ger­print con­trols for Bul­gar­i­an and Roma­nia EU cit­i­zens mov­ing to Ger­many. For the CSU this strat­e­gy did not pay off. The CSU lost 7.6 per­cent while the AfD had a vote share of 8 per­cent in Bavaria.

A.O.B: Initiative for a European Electoral System

The most notable result of the 2014 Euro­pean elec­tions in Ger­many was an increased turnout of 48.1 per­cent com­pared to 43.3 per­cent in 2009. A first expla­na­tion for this increase was the suc­cess of the ‘Spitzenkan­di­dat­en’ cam­paign. The oth­er argu­ment giv­en, were the local elec­tions and a ref­er­en­dum held in twelve Ger­man ‘Län­der’. While the turnout in regions with a sec­ond elec­tion ranged from 43 to 56.9 per­cent, the turnout in regions with­out anoth­er poll ranged from 40.3 to 48.1 per­cent.

While there were not many com­ments analysing the results of the CDU (-0.7 per­cent; Angela Merkel’s EU pol­i­cy), SPD (+ 6.5 per­cent; Mar­tin Schulz’s suc­cess and low result in 2009), Greens (-1.4 per­cent; sta­bilised com­pared to last fed­er­al elec­tions) and Social­ists (-0.1 per­cent; no EU pol­i­cy con­cept) the dis­cus­sion focussed on the CSU (-7.6 per­cent in Bavaria), the Euroscep­tic AfD (+7.0 per­cent) and the FDP (-7.6 per­cent). After hav­ing failed to win a sin­gle seat in the last fed­er­al elec­tions, the major­i­ty of com­ments on the FDP’s result assumed that the party’s renew­al needs more time, if at all pos­si­ble.

Sev­en addi­tion­al new par­ties won a seat in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment after the Ger­man con­sti­tu­tion­al Court ruled the 3‑percent thresh­old for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment elec­tions to be uncon­sti­tu­tion­al in Feb­ru­ary 2014. Among them are four sin­gle issue par­ties, an umbrel­la organ­i­sa­tion of local elec­toral ini­tia­tives, a satire par­ty and a right-wing extrem­ist par­ty. For­eign Min­is­ter Stein­meier was the first to crit­i­cise that sin­gle-issue and satire par­ties in the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment do not increase the rep­re­sen­ta­tive­ness of Ger­man pol­i­tics. He pro­posed an EU-wide elec­toral sys­tem, includ­ing a thresh­old, to secure the prop­er func­tion­ing of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment.

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2. The EU’s Neighbourhood

Dr. Katrin Böttger

Between ‘Putin-understanders’ and sceptics

The views in Ger­many con­cern­ing Rus­sia are large­ly shaped by the Ukrain­ian cri­sis, which has been ongo­ing since Novem­ber 2013. All Ger­man par­ties have con­demned the sep­a­ra­tion of Crimea and annex­a­tion by Rus­sia as a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law. In reac­tion to this, the dom­i­nant view in Ger­many is nonethe­less that Rus­sia should be includ­ed in any talks con­cern­ing the future of Ukraine and that bridges should not be destroyed but rather good neigh­bourly rela­tions should be attempt­ed.

Over­all, Ger­many and Rus­sia rela­tions are seen as impor­tant not only but also because of the ener­gy rela­tions and ener­gy depen­den­cy that Ger­many has vis-à-vis Rus­sia.

How­ev­er, there was also an intel­lec­tu­al fight accus­ing Putin-under­standers (“Putin-Ver­ste­her”) of putting too much blame for the Ukraine cri­sis on the EU itself and giv­ing Putin too much lee­way in annex­ing Crimea. The politi­cians labelled “Putin-Ver­ste­her” includ­ing the Coor­di­na­tor of Ger­man-Russ­ian Inter­so­ci­etal Coop­er­a­tion Ger­not Erler (Social Demo­c­ra­t­ic Par­ty, SPD) and the social­ist par­ty “Die Linke” defend­ed their posi­tion by argu­ing that one needs to under­stand Rus­sia in order to nego­ti­ate with the gov­ern­ment, with­out imply­ing sym­pa­thy for Putin’s deci­sion. Con­cern­ing oth­er issues of coop­er­a­tion such as the Iran talks it is not felt that rela­tions have wors­ened, the cri­sis does not seem to have had an impact on these talks, there­fore no need to change rela­tions with Rus­sia in this regard is seen.

In the pub­lic, Putin’s rep­u­ta­tion has suf­fered, and an increas­ing num­ber of Ger­mans see him crit­i­cal­ly, a trend, how­ev­er, that start­ed 10 years ago, long before the Ukrain­ian cri­sis.

The Eastern partners: beyond ‘enlargement light’

The gen­er­al under­stand­ing in Ger­many is that regard­less of the cri­sis in Ukraine, the sign­ing of the asso­ci­a­tion agree­ments with Moldo­va and Geor­gia should con­tin­ue to be pur­sued. In addi­tion, there is increased sup­port to accel­er­ate process­es allow­ing cit­i­zens of the East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries visa free trav­el to the EU, which was first grant­ed to Moldovans in April 2014.

The Ger­man posi­tion is well pre­sent­ed in the com­mon dec­la­ra­tion of the three for­eign min­is­ters of the ‘Weimar Tri­an­gle’, Frank-Wal­ter Stein­meier (Ger­many), Lau­rent Fabius (France) and Radoslaw Siko­rs­ki (Poland), which states that the East­ern Part­ner­ship should not force the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries into hav­ing to choose to coop­er­ate either with the EU or Rus­sia but should be designed to make both pos­si­ble, even if a cus­toms union and a Deep and Com­pre­hen­sive Free Trade Agree­ment (DCFTA) are dif­fi­cult to align tech­ni­cal­ly.

In this regard, there is also a renewed inter­est to attempt to revive ideas and con­cepts regard­ing an eco­nom­ic union from Lis­bon to Wladi­wos­tok. In addi­tion, there is sup­port for the idea to take Russ­ian reser­va­tions into con­sid­er­a­tion con­cern­ing DCF­TAs with the East­ern Part­ner­ship coun­tries regard­ing trade rela­tions with Rus­sia. There is a feel­ing that once the cri­sis in Ukraine is over­come, the East­ern Part­ner­ship should be reformed. First sug­ges­tions on how this improved East­ern Part­ner­ship should be shaped include mov­ing away from the ‘Enlarge­ment light’ con­cept towards more indi­vid­ual approach­es to the dif­fer­ent coun­tries includ­ing those reluc­tant to deep­en rela­tions with the EU such as Azer­bai­jan and Arme­nia. In addi­tion, the need for a more strate­gic and long-term approach is felt which would include pri­ori­tis­ing sup­port­ing the neigh­bour­ing coun­tries over more dis­tant coun­tries. With the elec­tion of the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment and a new Com­mis­sion includ­ing a new Pres­i­dent as well as a new High Rep­re­sen­ta­tive on the hori­zon, many sug­gest that the Euro­pean Union Exter­nal Action Ser­vice should be strength­ened fur­ther.

Turkey’s EU bid: a narrowing gap between left and right

The over­all posi­tion in Ger­many con­cern­ing Turk­ish EU mem­ber­ship has become more scep­ti­cal and reluc­tant or out­right opposed in recent months and years. Com­pared to pre­vi­ous elec­toral pro­grammes for the Euro­pean elec­tion, the Chris­t­ian Demo­c­ra­t­ic Union (CDU) did not reit­er­ate that enlarge­ment should be ‘done by the book’ (which con­tin­ues to be the Fed­er­al par­ties’ posi­tion) but that they oppose Turk­ish mem­ber­ship based on the fact that they do not ful­fil the cri­te­ria. The Chris­t­ian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU) holds the same posi­tion, clear­ly stat­ing that they are against Turk­ish mem­ber­ship in the EU by argu­ing that this would over­bur­den both the EU and Turkey.

In addi­tion, par­ties that were in the past clear­ly in favour of mem­ber­ship (Greens, Social Democ­rats) are now more reluc­tant in their word­ing. How­ev­er, the Social Democ­rats stat­ed that they would pur­sue the nego­ti­a­tions with the goal of mem­ber­ship. And the Greens agree that Turkey does not cur­rent­ly ful­fil the nec­es­sary cri­te­ria but that the EU should be open and con­tin­ue sup­port­ing its demo­c­ra­t­ic process.

Besides dif­fi­cul­ties in the nego­ti­a­tions this is clear­ly attrib­uted to the pol­i­tics, espe­cial­ly of Recep Tayyip Erdo­gan, con­cern­ing protests at Gezi Park in 2013 and media and inter­net free­dom in 2014. The country’s devel­op­ment and Erdogan’s pol­i­tics were dis­cussed wide­ly and exten­sive­ly around the time of his offi­cial vis­it to Berlin on 4 Feb­ru­ary 2014 as well as his vis­it to Cologne on 24 May 2014 which was not offi­cial­ly an elec­tion ral­ly but was nev­er­the­less still seen by many as such caus­ing con­tro­ver­sy among Ger­man politi­cians on allow­ing such events as well as among the Turk­ish com­mu­ni­ty in Ger­many.

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3. Power relations in the EU

Dr. Fun­da Tekin

Germany – living up to its European responsibility

Ger­many has the strongest econ­o­my in the Euro­pean Union and it faces ambigu­ous expec­ta­tions from its fel­low EU Mem­ber States. Coun­tries that were bad­ly hit by the Euro­cri­sis accuse Ger­many of pres­sur­ing them to stick to a strict aus­ter­i­ty course. Oth­er coun­tries – most­ly small­er EU Mem­ber States – per­ceive Germany’s role with­in the EU on a more pos­i­tive account. And yet oth­ers blame Ger­many for not suf­fi­cient­ly tak­ing up its Euro­pean respon­si­bil­i­ty call­ing Ger­many the ‘reluc­tant hege­mon’.

The debate in Ger­many is strong­ly influ­enced by the ques­tion of how the coun­try can live up to its respon­si­bil­i­ty result­ing from its rel­a­tive eco­nom­ic strength and size of pop­u­la­tion. The Fed­er­al Pres­i­dent, Joachim Gauck, claims Germany’s reluc­tance to take on more respon­si­bil­i­ty to be linked to the con­text of Ger­man his­to­ry. Cit­ing Han­na Arendt who claimed in 1950 that Ger­mans had fall­en in love with pow­er­less­ness, he calls on Ger­many to take on more respon­si­bil­i­ty. In doing so, Ger­many needs to bal­ance its action well between impos­ing its will on oth­ers and doing too lit­tle in order to avoid risks or con­flict (Joachim Gauck 2013).

The gen­er­al per­cep­tion in the coun­try is that Ger­mans should not be too self-crit­i­cal and should be aware of the fact that lead­ing does not nec­es­sar­i­ly imply dom­i­nat­ing (Kon­rad-Ade­nauer Stiftung). This debate also high­lights that the reforms aimed at solv­ing the Euro­cri­sis and deter­min­ing a stricter aus­ter­i­ty course were not decid­ed by Ger­many alone but were sub­ject to con­sen­sus among all EU Mem­ber States. The aim of the new coali­tion gov­ern­ment in Ger­many is to forge a strong and respon­si­ble role for Ger­many with­in the EU. This role is defined with­in the con­text of the Euro­pean inte­gra­tion process in which Ger­many needs to func­tion as ‘motor of inte­gra­tion’. The Ger­man pub­lic acknowl­edges the strengths of the coun­try but is reluc­tant to accept a role as ‘benev­o­lent hege­mon’ (Hein­rich-Böll-Stiftung).

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Austerity vs. growth – are they really mutually exclusive?

In terms of bud­getary dis­ci­pline Ger­many, which had a debt-rate of 78.4 per­cent of GDP, a deficit-rate of 0 per­cent and an unem­ploy­ment rate of 6.6 per­cent in 2013, counts as the mod­el-state with­in the Euro­pean Union. There­fore, the main focus of the Ger­man debate on aus­ter­i­ty and growth are the pre­ferred reform options at the Euro­pean lev­el rather than the actu­al effects that aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy might have on the Ger­man econ­o­my and the labour mar­ket.

In gen­er­al, the pre­ferred pol­i­cy options at the Euro­pean lev­el are a stricter aus­ter­i­ty course. This has been strong­ly pro­mot­ed by the sub­se­quent Ger­man gov­ern­ments. In this con­text, how­ev­er, it is empha­sised that this pol­i­cy pref­er­ence does not imply that growth is not a pri­or­i­ty for Ger­many. On the con­trary the gen­er­a­tion of sus­tain­able growth is dis­cussed as one of the top pri­or­i­ties of Ger­man pol­i­cy. The gen­er­al con­vic­tion is that aus­ter­i­ty and growth are not mutu­al­ly exclu­sive because the essen­tial ele­ment that gen­er­ates sus­tain­able growth is struc­tur­al reforms.

This gen­er­al con­vic­tion was sub­ject to a more intense debate in the run-up to the par­lia­men­tary elec­tions in Ger­many in Octo­ber 2013. The for­mer gov­ern­ment par­ties CDU/CSU and FDP fierce­ly defend­ed their stricter aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy pref­er­ences, where­as the then oppo­si­tion par­ties SPD and the Greens took a more crit­i­cal stance. The par­ty ‘Die Linke’ even pre­dict­ed end­less aus­ter­i­ty an eco­nom­ic and social dead-end. The Alter­na­tive für Deutsch­land (Alter­na­tive for Ger­many – AFD) cas­ti­gates the Euro-pol­i­tics as a whole call­ing it an absolute fail­ure. This debate includ­ed the ques­tion of Eurobonds that were heat­ed­ly dis­cussed by the SPD that was in favour and the CDU/CSU that reject­ed Eurobonds as uncon­sti­tu­tion­al. Nev­er­the­less, the new coali­tion gov­ern­ment of CDU/CSU and SPD has been able to find agree­ment on the com­mon approach towards aus­ter­i­ty and growth: it rejects the com­mu­ni­tari­sa­tion of nation­al debts as well as agreed on the impor­tance of struc­tur­al reforms and sus­tain­able invest­ment in order to fos­ter growth in Europe and on the cred­i­ble imple­men­ta­tion of the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact.

Recent­ly, the debate on the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact was rean­i­mat­ed. Dur­ing his elec­toral cam­paign for the Euro­pean Par­lia­ment Elec­tions Mar­tin Schulz, the can­di­date of the Euro­pean Social­ists, was labelled an ‘Ital­ian look alike’ by the CDU because he pro­mot­ed the renun­ci­a­tion of the strict aus­ter­i­ty pol­i­cy. Addi­tion­al­ly, at the occa­sion of a vis­it to France in June 2014 the Fed­er­al Min­is­ter for Eco­nom­ic Affairs and Ener­gy Sig­mar Gabriel stat­ed his sup­port to an ini­tia­tive of sev­er­al south­ern EU mem­ber states ask­ing for a revi­sion of the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact that would ren­der it more flex­i­ble. He point­ed at the dif­fi­cult times of struc­tur­al reforms in Ger­many at the begin­ning of the 21st cen­tu­ry and empha­sised that it took sev­er­al years before the struc­tur­al reforms of the social sys­tem and the labour mar­ket, the ‘Agen­da 2010’, took its desired effect. Gabriel’s state­ment has inten­si­fied the debate and his coali­tion part­ners from the CDU hur­ried to con­firm that the gov­ern­ment was con­vinced that the Sta­bil­i­ty and Growth Pact already pro­vid­ed suf­fi­cient flex­i­bil­i­ty.

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The UK: Don’t let the singer sing his song!

The Ger­man gov­ern­ment acknowl­edges that the Unit­ed King­dom (UK) is a dif­fi­cult part­ner with­in the Euro­pean Union. At the same time it empha­sis­es the impor­tance of keep­ing the UK on board. Both the Chan­cel­lor Angela Merkel and the Fed­er­al Min­is­ter of For­eign Affairs Franz-Wal­ter Stein­meier under­lined the com­mon val­ues and inter­ests shared by Ger­many and Britain upon their vis­its to Lon­don in 2014. Merkel repeat­ed this argu­ment in a gov­ern­ment dec­la­ra­tion in June 2014. She crit­i­cised the lev­i­ty of those who in line with the say­ing “let the singer sing his song” claimed the irrel­e­vance of whether the UK would remain in or exit the EU. She stat­ed that the UK was a strong ally of Ger­many and con­tributed sub­stan­tial­ly to the com­mon Euro­pean for­eign pol­i­cy. Com­mon inter­ests include the inter­nal mar­ket and a clos­er coop­er­a­tion to strength­en the EU’s role as a glob­al actor.

Against this back­ground, Merkel does not seem pre­pared to put British EU mem­ber­ship at risk over the cur­rent­ly heat­ed debate on Jean-Claude Juncker’s can­di­da­cy for the post of the new Pres­i­dent of the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion (Spiegel 24/2014).

The sup­port of con­tin­ued British EU mem­ber­ship is shared by the oppo­si­tion par­ties in the cur­rent Bun­destag. 85 per­cent of the elec­torate of the Green Par­ty and 35 per­cent of “Die Linke” are in favour of UK mem­ber­ship (IP-For­sa-Frage).

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This sur­vey was con­duct­ed on the basis of a ques­tion­naire that has been elab­o­rat­ed in March 2014. Most of the reports were deliv­ered in June 2014. This issue and all pre­vi­ous issues are avail­able on the EU-28 Watch web­site: www.eu-28watch.org.

The EU-28 Watch No. 10 receives sig­nif­i­cant fund­ing from the Otto Wolff-Foun­da­tion, Cologne, in the frame­work of the ‘Dia­log Europa der Otto Wolff-Stiftung’, and finan­cial sup­port from the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion is not respon­si­ble for any use that may be made of the infor­ma­tion con­tained there­in.