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NUMERO 24 - 19/12/2018

 Opening Speech at the Conference 'Which Germany After the Vote?'

National elections in Europe nowadays are not isolated events. Due to European integration, single market, common currency and Schengen area, elections in one country have consequences for their neighbours. This was true for the Netherlands, France and Germany last year, and it will be true for Italy this year. On September 24th, 2017 the political landscape in Germany changed: we now have six parliamentary groups in the Bundestag: three on the centre-left to far left and three on the centre-right to far right political spectre. None of the parties gathered more than a third of the votes. Those, who formed the last grand coalition government, CDU and CSU suffered their worst electoral results since 1949, the SPD even the worst in post-war history. The liberals, who dropped out of parliament in 2013, are back. A right wing populist party, AfD, for the first time entered the federal parliament and became the third largest group. Germany, in so far, follows a development which we have seen in a number of other European countries. One positive aspect of these elections is that the turn-out rose by 5 % to 76.2 % reversing a longstanding trend towards abstention. And we have the biggest parliament ever, with 709 members. Forming a government majority under these conditions is not an easy task. As you know, the efforts to form a government by Christian Democrats, Liberals and the Green Party failed after weeks of consultations due to the Liberals’ withdrawal. CDU/CSU and SPD then negotiated a new grand coalition. The three parties involved in the negotiations for a new coalition agreement succeeded in finalising their difficult task on Wednesday. The treaty is an important political document that will – assumed that reality will allow so – be the red thread of government work during its mandate. Important objectives have been set, in all domains of politics. Given the healthy economic situation of Germany at present and of the financial situation of the State the coalition treaty provides for a series of amendments to enforce the social and medical security system of the country. Regarding foreign policy Germany remains committed to multilateralism, cooperation and respect for international law. Two core objectives are highlighted in the coalition agreement: to enhance Europe’s ability to act in a global scale and, at the same time, strengthen the transatlantic ties… (continues)

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