First steps on the EU stage: Germany’s new coalition offers continuity and change

Författare: Kreilinger Valentin

When Germany’s new governing coalition agreed on an ambitious agenda for EU affairs, it raised expectations of a new momentum for the EU. But it will require compromises on multiple levels to fulfil the announced aim of a stronger Europe, writes Valentin Kreilinger, senior researcher in political science at SIEPS. (2022:5epa)

The new German government’s coalition agreement included an ambitious agenda for European affairs, creating expectations of a new momentum within the EU. All three parties – Social-Democrats, Greens and Free Democrats – want to see a stronger EU.

But what does this mean in concrete terms? What European priorities does the ‘traffic-light’ coalition have and how do they fit into the broader dynamics of EU decision-making?

In this European Policy Analysis, Valentin Kreilinger, senior researcher in political science at SIEPS, analyses the coalition’s 178-page programme when it comes to both individual EU policy areas and the wider role of the EU.

His analysis shows that this coalition has higher ambitions for Europe than the previous one. The new government has also become more aligned with the preferences expressed by the EU institutions and some of Germany’s partners within the EU.

However, to transform words into action, the governing parties will need to overcome significant policy differences and find compromises at the EU level. Negotiations with the opposition will also be necessary.

Moreover, during their first weeks in office the new ministers (and their parties) have had to position themselves quickly on potentially contentious issues such as fiscal rules, the taxonomy for sustainable activities and Ukraine. In the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine, the new German government’s line is also being tested on the international stage.