Event Highlights: What Next for Germany?

This virtual round table discussion with Nicole Menzenbach, Consul General of Germany to New England, to preview the 2021 German elections took place on Friday, September 24. Commentators included John F. Kennedy Memorial Fellows & Visiting Scholars at Harvard’s Center for European Studies Charlotte Bartels, a postdoctoral researcher at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW), and Pascal D. König, a researcher at TU Kaiserslautern; Pardee School of Global Studies professors Thomas Berger and Vivien Schmidt; and Director of the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis University Sabine von Mering. The event was hosted by the Center for the Study of Europe at Boston University and moderated by CSE Acting Director Kaija Schilde.

Ms. Menzenbach focused her remarks on the state of play in Germany as Angela Merkel prepares to step down after 16 years as Chancellor. She also gave an overview of the German electoral system and commented on Merkel’s legacy. Charlotte Bartels described the different parties’ platforms on matters such as taxation, pensions, and labor market policies. Thomas Berger brought up the implications for transatlantic relations, with some asides on Germany’s larger role in global politics, and talked about some likely coalitions. Pascal König gave an overview of the party system in Germany and well as some of the important issues at stake the election. Vivien Schmidt honed in on Germany’s role in the EU – with a look back to the Eurozone crisis, the refugee crisis, and Covid 19 and how the German elections might affect the balance of power and policies in the EU. Lastly, Sabine von Mering – noting that the panel was coinciding with the global climate strike – highlighted the parties’ various proposals to tackle the climate crisis and how Germany’s role will change vis a vis the EU and US depending on the outcome.

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