German domestic turmoil prolongs EU leadership gap

Germany’s political turmoil, which deepened on Monday with the resignation of the leader of the ruling centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), following a week of chaos with the far-right in Thuringia, will cast a long shadow on the country’s upcoming EU presidency in the second half of this year.

It will mean that Germany will continue to look inwards and be unable to provide the leadership many in the EU hope it could bring…

The leadership battle within CDU will culminate before the start of the German EU presidency in July, but the internal upheaval will continue.

“The glaring leadership gap in Germany comes at a time when the EU needs strong leaders to deal with a plethora of problems, not least the immense strains in the transatlantic relationship and the growing global role of China,” Judy Dempsey a senior fellow at Carnegie Europe wrote.

“In a bid to buy time before next year’s federal election, the CDU wants to spend the coming months finding a new leader, leaving in the ensuing period a vacuum in Europe,” she added in her analysis.

Germany, meanwhile, will take the helm of the EU when the new EU commission is in the process of launching some of its flagship legislative proposals…

“Merkel’s Germany has been criticised for not providing international leadership. It’s hard to know what kind of Europe Merkel wants in terms of economic and political integration,” Dempsey adds.

And that will become increasingly problematic, as France and Germany have become even more weightier within the EU with the UK finally leaving the bloc, after 47 years.

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