|Frank-Walter Steinmeier (SPD, since February 2017)
Angela Merkel (CDU, entered third term in September 2013)
|Size||357,168 km2 (137,847 sq miles)|
|MEPs||96 (joined the EU in 1958)|
|Next presidential election
Next legislative election
24 September 2017 (Angela Merkel announced she will run for a fourth term. This is regarded by European leaders as move to counterbalance the political instability experienced by some EU countries.)
|Presidency of the Council||July – December 2020|
|Last meeting with Theresa May||3 February 2017 at EU summit in Valletta, Malta|
|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||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 running up to the elections. Therefore, asylum policy is one of Mrs Merkel’s main priorities as she prepares to get elected for a fourth term.
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 is also crucial factor in debates leading up to the elections.
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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