Is Brexit another loss for Germany and EU: Why Britain must not leave its military bases in Germany

The worsening relation between EU and Britain makes this possible that Germany might be occupied once again, this time by Britons than Americans. However, the military bases on British army and some related installations are still there!

 

London laughing. Crying Berlin.
The end of 2019 allowed us to witness a major landslide in Europe. Britain, despite three years of psychodrama about the implementation of Brexit, now has a stable political majority, with an unambiguous political mandate. The European Union, once Brexit is definitively adopted, on January 31, 2020, will find itself faced with a Boris Johnson not only endowed with his formidable negotiation skills but having a coherent position vis-à-vis the European Union, itself very disorganized.

Why insist on such evidence? Because, since the summer of 2016, we have witnessed, in fact, a crossover in Europe: in the aftermath of the referendum, most observers did not doubt that Angela Merkel would make a mouthful of the British government coming negotiate Brexit in Brussels. The German Chancellor was then at the height of her influence, celebrated by the media and world leaders for having fully opened, for three months, at the end of 2015, the borders of Germany to refugees and immigrants arriving from the Middle East and d ‘Africa. Three years later, the head of the German government is deeply weakened. If a legislative election were held this Sunday, the CDU and the SPD, the two ruling parties, would barely collect 40% of the vote between them,

How Angela Merkel gave the final impetus to Brexit
The link between all these questions is obvious: when she opened her country’s borders widely to immigration, when the Brexit campaign began, Angela Merkel, without realizing it, sealed the fate of the British supporters of staying in the EU. Before this German decision, the “Remain” was ahead in the polls; after Angela Merkel’s spectacular whim, the impossibility, when one is a member of the EU, to control immigration becomes one of the two most important subjects of the campaign, the one which undoubtedly made pass the Brexit vote in June 2016. Huge blunder of the Chancellor, therefore, from the point of view of the interests of the European Union, but which we are not sure that she ever realized.

Let us remember her optimism of autumn 2015, when Mrs Merkel repeated to her compatriots: “Wir schaffen das! “. We’ll get there. German public opinion also followed, at first. However, the enthusiasm gradually fell in the first half of 2016: there was this New Year’s Eve night in Cologne, where North African foreigners (not necessarily autumn migrants, by the way) were arrested for attempted rape, but of which the media had refused to speak for many weeks; and then there was a growing weariness in society, noting that the government was not making exceptional financial resources available despite the enormous welcoming effort made by hundreds of thousands of Germans, mostly volunteers;

The political agony of Angela Merkel
On this side of the Channel, we laughed at Theresa May, missing the absolute majority in early parliamentary elections in June 2017. But the result of the CDU-CSU in the German legislative elections in September was much more bad: with the lowest score in their history, 30% of the vote, the Christian Democrats had to negotiate for six months – unheard of since the Weimar Republic – to form a great Coalition government – exactly what the voters had rejected, dropping the SPD even more than the CDU. To the right of the CDU, a hard conservative party has settled, the AfD, whose local cadres often come from the nationalist right: in the former East Germany, the homeland of Angela Merkel, the AfD is fast becoming the number one party in number of votes. The German right, so powerful and consistent when Angela Merkel took over in 2000, is today weakened, divided. The Chancellor has preferred, since she came to power in 2005, to install her party in the center-left, taking votes from the Social Democrats but losing on her right. The CDU still has an electoral base of 25% and remains the leading party in terms of voting intentions but the question of the succession of Angela Merkel arose in the spring of 2018.

Christian Lindner, the leader of the FDP liberals, caused a sensation at the end of 2017, by refusing to continue negotiating for the constitution of a new government as long as Angela Merkel remained chancellor. Basically, the Christian Democratic Party knows very well that after the last election, it deprived itself of a renewed coalition, with the Liberals and the Greens. However, once the Grand Coalition was renewed in spring 2018, no one dared to challenge Angela Merkel. It was the latter, sensing that her support had seriously faltered in public opinion, who announced herself that she was not standing for the presidency of her party and that she would no longer be a candidate for the Chancellery. in September 2021. Suddenly, Annegret Kramp-Karrrenbauer, who took the presidency of the party, elected with 53% of the votes,

Review of the Merkel years. Assessment of the “German model”
After the announcement of her scheduled departure, Angela Merkel’s popularity rebounded. But that only makes the political crisis in which Germany finds itself all the more flagrant. The head of government is at the end of the road but his theoretically successor put into orbit has no legitimacy. The coalition partner fell below 15% in the polls. The installation in power in Austria of a coalition of conservatives and Greens gives ideas for the future but the big difference between the two countries comes from the internal cohesion of the conservative party, endowed with a young and inspired leader, Sebastian Kurz , precisely what the CDU is unable to identify. It is therefore very likely that Angela Merkel, against all odds, will reach the end of her term.

In the coming eighteen months, the balance sheet of the Merkel years will be drawn up, more and more precisely. And it will be severe. We will have occasion to return to this in this chronicle of German affairs, which is intended to become regular. Germany has identified herself so much with Angela Merkel and has such a hard time detaching herself from this maintenance of power professional, trained in the school of Communist Germany, that we are going to put more and more in question, not only “the Merkel years” but what the French call, rather superficially, the “German model”. Some examples:

– The exit from nuclear power, decided abruptly by Angela Merkel in March 2011, not only worsened the carbon footprint of the country but the kilowattt / hour of electricity increased by 63%.
– the median wealth of a German household is today the weakest in the euro zone, at 51,400 Euro (the average of the zone being located at 109,000 euros)
– by refusing financial transfers in the form of a European budget to the weakest countries in the euro zone, the Chancellor allowed the Bundesbank’s interest rate policy to be implemented, which robbed German savers of 40 billion euros per year
– It is estimated that at least 50 billion per year the additional costs caused by the influx of immigrants since 2014.
– precarious jobs more than doubled between 2005 and 2019, from 464,000 to 1.04 million. 22.5% of the working population falls into the category of “low wages”.
– the average level of pre-tax retirement rose from 52.6 to 48% of net salary. For the record, the European average is 70.9%.

The French challenge: learning to think of Europe without German leadership
These figures largely explain the high rate of abstention from legislative elections (30% on average) since 2005; as well as the electoral losses of the two parties, CDU and SPD, which were until then the pillars of the Federal Republic. We French will have to get used to the notion of the “German model”, without bias. All the figures we give have, of course, been scrutinized by the British political class and opinion for three years. In political debates, in the House of Commons in particular, we have often heard the argument that it was dangerous to stay in a whole, the European Union, whose country always cited as the best performer, the economic engine , was basically much less recommendable than appearances (energy, immigration, social cohesion). For us French, to whom belonging to the euro does not give the same room for maneuver as to the British, the challenge is both similar and different: we have to let go of the “German model” which no longer ignites than our imaginations; but we must also design a policy capable of really reviving the European machine with a Germany which it is obvious that it will remain, after Angela Merkel, politically weakened. Angela Merkel’s slow political agony bluntly highlights that there will no longer be a strong chancellor in the next twenty years in the Federal Republic. However, the European Union will have to be reformed, on pain of seeing it sink into insignificance. we have to let go of the “German model” which only ignites our imaginations; but we must also design a policy capable of really reviving the European machine with a Germany which it is obvious that it will remain, after Angela Merkel, politically weakened. Angela Merkel’s slow political agony bluntly highlights that there will no longer be a strong chancellor in the next twenty years in the Federal Republic. However, the European Union will have to be reformed, on pain of seeing it sink into insignificance. we have to let go of the “German model” which only ignites our imaginations; but we must also design a policy capable of really reviving the European machine with a Germany which it is obvious that it will remain, after Angela Merkel, politically weakened. Angela Merkel’s slow political agony bluntly highlights that there will no longer be a strong chancellor in the next twenty years in the Federal Republic. However, the European Union will have to be reformed, on pain of seeing it sink into insignificance. Angela Merkel’s slow political agony bluntly highlights that there will no longer be a strong chancellor in the next twenty years in the Federal Republic. However, the European Union will have to be reformed, on pain of seeing it sink into insignificance. Angela Merkel’s slow political agony bluntly highlights that there will no longer be a strong chancellor in the next twenty years in the Federal Republic. However, the European Union will have to be reformed, on pain of seeing it sink into insignificance.

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