Germany. Three state elections held in March were seen as
a first test of the so-called large coalition that took
office last fall. According to
CountryAAH, Chancellor Angela Merkel's government
seemed to get approved; her Christian Democratic CDU won in
Baden-Württemberg and Saxony-Anhalt, while the Social
Democratic SPD remained the largest in Rhineland-Palatinate.
Somewhat worse in the two elections in September. In the
crisis-hit Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the SPD rebounded
from 40 to 30% and could only re-form a government with the
leftist PDS, with only a small margin. The National
Democratic NPD gained just over 7%; the state thus became
the fourth in T. with right-wing extremists in parliament.
In Berlin, the ruling SPD strengthened its position
slightly, while the coalition partner PDS lost support. The
result was nevertheless a new "red-red" coalition.
At the federal level, opinion polls were increasingly
failing during the fall for Merkel. Perhaps many voters felt
that the "forced marriage" between Germany's two major
parties led to too many political compromises in politics.
Nevertheless, several comprehensive reforms were carried
out: the retirement age was increased, parental insurance of
the Swedish model was launched, the heavy-handed legislative
work was simplified by a power shift from the states to the
federal government and a comprehensive restructuring of the
healthcare system was adopted to bring down costs in the
world's third most expensive system.
The economic development was favorable. Growth was good
and unemployment fell to below 4 million in November - the
lowest level in four years.
SPD got a new party leader when Matthias Platzeck
resigned in April, after only six months on the post. Kurt
Beck, head of government in Rhineland-Palatinate, became the
new chairman of the party.
Foreign policy approached Germany under Merkel's
leadership again the US, with which the relationship has
been frosty since the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Concerns
that domestic right-wing extremists or Islamists would
strike during the summer football World Cup came to shame.
As a nation, Germany was considered to win a lot of goodwill
at the tournament which became a folk party without more
serious incidents. The host nation salvaged the bronze medal
and celebrated as if it were gold.
Shortly after the Soccer World Cup came a reminder that
the country was not immune to terror when two bags of
explosive charges were found on commuter trains in Dortmund
and Koblenz. According to the prosecutor, they had caused
extensive damage if they had detonated. Two young Lebanese
were arrested on suspicion of interference and several
others were taken in for questioning.
The author and Nobel laureate Günter Grass aroused great
resentment when he revealed that he was a member of the
Waffen-SS during the Second World War. Grass, known as a
peace activist and truth-seeker on the left, had previously
stated that he was a soldier during his teens - not that he
belonged to the Nazi elite.
The German self-image also got a thorn when media in
October published photos from Afghanistan of German soldiers
who violated corpses and posed with skulls. The images
caused a storm of protest, but also raised concerns about
the security of the more than 2,700 Germans in the ISAF
force in Afghanistan.
In November, the Constitutional Court in Karlsruhe found
Moroccan Mounir Motassadeq guilty of assisting in murder for
his involvement in the terrorist attack against the United
States in 2001. The sentence will be set by a Hamburg court,
which thus takes Motassadeq's case a third time. He was
first convicted of assisting with murder, but second only to
membership in a terrorist organization.
In June 2013, Edward Snowden reveals that the NSA has a
global Internet and telecommunications interception program.
Unlike Denmark, which backs 100% of the United States'
illegal programs, Chancellor Merkel will comment on the
program at the beginning of July, as she declares that the
information on the interception is very serious. It is
important to prevent terrorism, but the means must not shoot
over the target. The same month she meets with Barack Obama
where she expresses her concern. As a former citizen of the
GDR, she was sensitive to state interception of the nation's
citizens. However, it will be even worse in October when it
is revealed that NSA through targeted operations, among
other things. has been listening to Chancellor Merkel's
phones. The NSA's program now obviously no longer has
anything to do with anti-terror, but the interception of
enemies of the superpower - and close allies.
The September 2013 parliamentary elections were a
disaster for the ruling party FDP, which with only 4.8%
completely quit. The CDU / CSU's coalition partner was thus
out. Although the CDU / CSU rose 7.8% to 41.5% and thus was
the country's undisputed largest party, it was not enough to
form government. The Social Democrats also went up 2.7% to
25.7%. Left wing Die Linke, on the other hand, had a decline
of 3.3% to 8.6% and the Greens a decline of 2.3% to 8.4%. In
reality, it was now possible to form a center-left
government consisting of the Social Democracy, Die Linke and
the Greens, but the Social Democratic leadership rejected
this possibility. Under no circumstances would the party
form the government with the left. On the other hand, a poll
showed immediately after the election, that 65% of the
party's voters were against joining a CDU / CSU government.
Nevertheless, at the end of November, the party entered into
reality negotiations with the CSU / CDU, drawing up a
government basis that the party's members with 76% voted for
December 14. The new CDU / CSU-S government could then join
on December 17. Merkel could thus begin his 3rd chancellor
period. One of the few concessions the Social Democracy had
received during the negotiations was the introduction of a
minimum wage of € 8.50 (€ 64 per hour) from 2015.
In March 2014, the Federation Day set up a commission of
inquiry to uncover the extent of NSA's espionage in Germany.
In July, the investigative work got extra spice when it was
revealed that since 2012, BND (German Intelligence Service)
agent Markus R. had worked for the CIA and had copied
hundreds of BND documents sold to the CIA, from which they
were delivered to the NSA. Markus R. was arrested and US
Ambassador to Germany, John B. Emerson called for
conversation in the German Foreign Ministry. A few days
later, another US spy was revealed. He had worked for the
Secretary of Defense. A few days later, technicians found
that a cellphone belonging to one of the CDU's investigative
commission members, Roderich Kiesewetter, was intercepted.
As early as spring 2014, the largest German companies
warned the government against accepting financial sanctions
against Russia, given the crisis in Ukraine. Germany's trade
with Russia accounted for only 3% of its foreign trade in
2013, but with a value of DKK 105 billion. However, US $ was
a considerable amount. For example. VW had expected to sell
300,000 cars during the year for a total value of 6.5
billion. US $. However, the industry spoke to the deaf ear
and by the end of 2014, German industrial exports to Russia
had fallen by 25% as a result of sanctions Russia had
imposed in response to EU. The sanctions policy had not only
ruined the possibilities of dialogue to resolve the conflict
in Ukraine, but according to. analysts would also negatively
affect the overall German economy by 1-2%. However, the
immediate impact was masked by the drastic fall in oil
prices in late 2014. By the start of 2015, several hundred
German companies had suspended or completely suspended their
projects in Russia. In fact, it was Europe that paid the
price for EU and US sanctions policy. The sanctions brought
economic growth to a halt and the drastically falling food
prices (which Russia would no longer buy from Europe) and
falling oil prices triggered deflation in most EU countries.
Economists do not like deflation. It destroys future growth
opportunities because buyers stop spending money in the
expectation that prices will fall.
One consequence of the sanctions and deflation moratorium
was that the euro weakened considerably over the US during
the year, and in mid-January 2015 Switzerland announced that
it had abolished the link between the Swiss franc and the
Euro, with the result that Sfr. was revalued by 30% over a
single day. At the same time, the left won the parliamentary
elections in Greece on a promise to settle the EU, IMF and
European Central Bank cuts policy, which did not solve the
country's problems but merely made them worse. The threat to
the European - and especially German - major banks was that
Greece would cease to pay off the debts previously corrupt
bourgeois politicians had created, thus forcing the major
banks to write off hundreds of billions of euros.
The anti-fascism work in Germany was significantly
weakened in 2014, when in October the Antifascist Left
Berlin disbanded itself, citing lack of renewal capacity.
The announcement was a disaster for the anti-fascist work
that had helped keep the neo-Nazis and fascists in the
previous 25 years, so that they could not conquer the street
as in the 1930s. The weakening was immediately exploited by
the right-wing radicals. In October, in Dresden, they
created the neo-Nazi group, Pegida (Patriotic European
against the Islamization of Abendlandes, Patriotic Europeans
against Islamization of the Fatherland). Pegida began
conducting weekly demonstrations in Dresden. From quite,
they grew to 7,500 on December 1 and 10,000 on December 8.
Five days after the Charlie Hebdo massacre. On
January 7, 2015 in Paris, Pegida gathered 25,000 for
demonstration in Dresden. The Neo-Nazi movement had already
spread to several other Germans and to Denmark, where a
dozen Danish neo-Nazis conducted a demonstration in front of
the Little Mermaid. But the counter-demonstrations had also
started. With the German Antifa groups in the lead, on
January 10, they managed to gather 35,000 for an anti-Pegida
demonstration in Dresden. Not only did the resistance begin
to manifest, but Pegida was also hit by internal problems
when Pegida's founder Lutz Bachmann posed in Hitler's
figure. He then resigned as leader of the movement.
Asylum seekers and refugees carried out several protest
actions and hunger strikes during 2014 in protest of the
conditions of the refugee centers and the restrictions on
their freedom of movement. In September, police launched an
investigation into information that private security guards
routinely assaulted and raped asylum seekers at a camp in
North Rhine-Westphalia. Since January 2013, 34
investigations against security guards have been initiated
in 7 out of 20 of the state's refugee centers.