‘Short-sighted’ Merkel’s biggest mistake could lead to more exits and collapse of EU

Germany election: Juncker reflects on Merkel’s time in office

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The outgoing German Chancellor has been accused of pushing the EU towards collapse by putting German businesses’ interests ahead of the health of the entire bloc and the prosperity of other member states.

According to the anonymous EU commentator The Greek Analyst, one of Angela Merkel’s biggest mistakes was to put her country’s interest before the safeguard of other EU member states suffering attacks by non-EU countries.

Despite leaving the German political scene after 16 years in power, her legacy will continue to put the EU at risk of collapsing, he added.

He said: “Merkel’s greatest injury to the soft power, state unity, geopolitical status and raison d’être of the EU was turning European values into nothing more than an expediency serving short-sighted German business interests.

“This has far deeper consequences than keen observers realise.”

He continued: “What Merkel’s tenure as ‘queen of Europe’ made clear was that external threats to the EU are not to be taken seriously if the instigator has important business ties with Germany.

“These come first and are far more consequential than the overall sovereignty and security of EU MS.

“German leadership has turned EU membership into a far less appealing value proposition, both to existing and new members, especially after Brexit. When MS cannot depend on their fellow EU MS (+ de facto EU leader) for support vs aggressors, the entire edifice slowly collapses.”

The EU expert argued Ms Merkel’s reluctance to defend Greece against Turkey demonstrated the fundamental lack of the solidarity principle EU leaders often cling to in their defence of the bloc’s project.

Ms Merkel’s conservatives were narrowly defeated in Sunday’s election while the Greens emerged in a kingmaker role, suggesting climate issues will have an even higher profile in German politics over the years ahead, political analysts said.

Jennifer Tollmann, a senior policy Advisor for the E3G think-tank in Berlin, said: “(The election result) will shape next year’s German G7 presidency, with Germany now set to solidify the G7 as an engine for climate action.”

Ms Merkel won plaudits from campaigners for persuading the leaders of the Group of Seven (G7) wealthy countries in 2015 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies.

She was credited by a senior official in former President Bill Clinton’s administration with making possible the Kyoto Protocol – a 1997 climate pact that preceded the Paris agreement.

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Christiana Figueres, the former UN climate chief, wrote in emailed comments to Reuters: “There is no doubt that she personally helped to advance international climate action at critical moments, despite multiple challenges.”

But Ms Merkel’s critics say the centre-right leader also approached the climate crisis as an everyday issue of give and take that could be balanced by concessions from all sides.

Juergen Trittin, a Green former German environment minister between 1998 and 2005, said: “Merkel’s record on climate policy over the last 16 years is disastrous.

“In the past 16 years, Germany has lost its leadership in technologies such as wind power and (solar) photovoltaics to China and the US, investments into clean energy have decreased and tens of thousands of jobs in these future technologies were lost.”

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