Back on track, Germany now tasked with refocusing itself and patching up Europe

Open Canada, March 21, 2018

With US politics shaking up European alliances, Angela Merkel — now officially in her fourth term — has another chance to recalibrate Germany’s foreign policies. As Siobhán Dowling reports, her government has already hit the ground running. 

It took almost six months but on March 14, Angela Merkel was finally sworn in as German chancellor for the fourth time.

“I think everyone has the feeling it’s time to finally start working,” she said last week. “A new departure for Europe, a new dynamic for Germany, new cohesion for our country … So there is a lot of work ahead.”

After months of tortuous negotiations, including failed talks with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats, Merkel’s Christian Democrats managed to form a new “grand coalition” with the centre-left Social Democratic Party (SPD).

Now in her 13th year in power, the 63-year-old chancellor was weakened by the relatively poor showing in September’s election, blamed in part on the refugee crisis, and the drawn-out coalition talks, as well as concessions made to the SPD, including handing them both the foreign and finance ministries.

Yet foreign policy is largely determined from the chancellery and Merkel, a sober crisis manager, is now tasked with steering Germany as it navigates an increasingly complicated world.

German foreign policy was effectively on hold for months, at a crucial time for Europe and much to the frustration of officials in Paris and Brussels.

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