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, major public holidays in Germany include Independence Day (October 3) and New Year (January 1). 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.