|Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD, since February 2017)
Angela Merkel (CDU, entered fourth term in September 2017)
|Size||357,168 km2 (137,847 sq miles)|
|MEPs||96 (joined the EU in 1958)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
|Presidency of the Council||July – December 2020|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||29 September 2017 at informal EU summit in Tallinn, Estonia|
|Brexit priorities||While many have said trade will be a big priority for Germany, particularly for its car industry, Germany has a trade surplus with the UK, which amounts to about 1% of GDP. Because of this, the German economy is in a strong position and it is expected that, as long as Mrs Merkel remains in power, her priority will be to protect the integrity of the single market by maintaining its four freedoms (goods, services, capital and workers).
Germany will also see itself playing a big role in keeping the EU-27 united throughout the Brexit negotiations and thereafter.
|What Mrs Merkel said on Brexit||26 June 2016
“There will be no informal or formal talks about an exit of Great Britain until a request has been submitted to the European Council.… We don’t want this to turn into a never-ending story.”
18 August 2016
“The whole process of the exit still lies ahead of us, but the decision is irrevocable. Now we must negotiate on the basis of our interests. And ‘negotiate’ means, above all, strengthening common projects.”
5 October 2016
“Brexit negotiations won’t be easy. If we don’t say full access to the internal market is linked to full freedom of movement, then a movement will spread in Europe where everyone just does whatever they want.”
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble on 4 February 2017
He does “not want to punish the British for their decision to leave the EU”
Spokesperson for Chancellor Angela Merkel on 29 March 2017
“We must not forget that the UK is still a partner, in Nato and in Europe.”
18 May 2017
“This is not meant maliciously, but you cannot have all of the good things and then say there’s a limit of 100,000 or 200,000 EU citizens allowed to enter the U.K. That won’t work. At that point, we’ll have to think about which restrictions we make on the European side to compensate for that.”
|Germany’s priorities||Following the elections on 24 September, Angela Merkel secured her fourth term as Chancellor, though lost 8.5% compared to 2013, making it the CDU’s worst result since 1945. The Social Democrats (SDP) also lost some seats, securing 20.5% of votes, which also marked the party’s poorest result. Meanwhile, far-right Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) will enter the Bundestag for the first time and has now become the country’s third biggest party, winning 12.6% of the votes.
With the SDP having ruled out a coalition with the CDU and the latter in turn ruling out a coalition with the AfD, it is most likely Mrs Merkel will seek a “Jamaica” coalition with the liberal FDP (10.7%) and the Greens (8.9%). These parties, however, have opposite views on many issues and it remains to be seen whether they will be able to come together. An alternative could be for the CDU and the FDP to form a minority government.
Germany plays a vital role in the EU as it is one of the most powerful Member States. Angela Merkel’s open-door refugee policy prompted thousands of refugees to head to Europe, causing problems with Germany’s asylum system and fueling the support for populist AfD party.
Furthermore, Germany has played a big part in the bail-out for Greece, a country currently under pressure to implement more austerity measures. The German economy and therefore the economies of all euro countries has been a crucial issue for Germany over the past years and will continue to be so now Mrs Merkel has secured her fourth term as Chancellor.
In terms of foreign policy, Germany has a big role to play in NATO and wants to maintain the sanctions on Russia.
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