We use cookies to help improve and maintain our site. More information.
close

October 30, 2019

When conservatives try an insurrection - CDU edition

The economist Paul Samuelson once quipped that of the last five recessions nine had been correctly predicted by stock markets. There is a similar mechanism at work with CDU crises. Most of the insurrections peter out without any significance. But some succeed - like the coup against Wolfgang Schäuble in the year 2000. This week’s attempted insurrection by Friedrich Merz and Roland Koch, two of the CDU grandees, does not belong into that category. It will be one of those four stock market crashes that signify nothing. 

After the CDU’s disastrous performance at the state elections in Thuringia, Merz accused Angela Merkel of political inaction. A carpet of fog had descended on Germany under her leadership, he said. We completely agree with him on the substance. Markel will leave Germany unprepared for the technological shocks of the 21st century. The German government is still struggling with digitalisation. It was perhaps symbolic that Peter Altmaier yesterday had a fall at the launch of his ministry’s digitalisation campaign, and broke his nose. 

But the criticism of Merkel's government is as correct as it will be inconsequential. Merz and Koch did not explicitly attack Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, but that criticism was clearly implied. AKK hit back and said she is happy to meet a leadership challenge. That, of course, won’t happen. 

We don’t think that AKK is particularly suited for the job of German chancellor, but that will not stop her from taking on the role in case the CDU/CSU emerge as the largest party in the 2021 elections. We think that the opportunity for Merz came and went. Jens Spahn, who is a more plausible future CDU leader, is not joining the insurrection. He is pledging his support for the current leadership.

The real danger for AKK is not an imminent leadership challenge but a gradual decline of her party, similar to that of the SPD. The CDU and the SPD both have a disastrous voter age profile. Young people are drifting to smaller parties, like the Greens or the AfD. In Thuringia the AfD was the largest party among those under 30. With each election the support for the CDU will erode, not necessarily in a straight line. We think that AKK will be astute enough to remain leader for a while, but not astute enough to stem the party's declining trend. The fragmentation of German politics will continue.

Show Comments Write a Comment

October 30, 2019

It could not happen here

"It could not happen here" is probably the single most ahistorical statement one can make. It's what the world thought about Germany in the first part of the last century. Germany was one of the most cultured and technically advanced countries on earth. When we asked the question whether a second referendum could degenerate into a civil war, we got the same answer: It could not happen here. The British do not take to the street. They are civilised. 

For starters, it already happened here. Oliver Cromwell's revolution was short-lived, but it was bloody. And a recent poll for the Guardian newspaper suggests that a majority of both Leave and Remain supporters were now in favour of violence against politicians. We take this poll, and any other poll, with a large grain of salt. But there is no question that the UK is becoming potentially more violent. Violence always starts with language.

The Turkish novelist Elif Shafak has an excellent comment in Politico, in which he warns of potential parallels between the deteriorating situations in Turkey and the UK. Like us, he too noted a change for the worse in the UK discourse. And he warns against the illusion that institutions are sufficient to uphold the system.

"Democracy is far more fragile than generally assumed. It is a delicate ecosystem of checks and balances. Referendums and elections, however vital, are not enough to maintain a democracy. Let us not forget that Russia has elections. Turkey has elections. They are not democracies. In addition to the ballot box, democracy is about the rule of law, separation of powers, media freedoms, academic independence, human rights, women’s rights and minority rights."

In Turkey, the descent into one-man rule began with Tayyip Recep Erdogan's own version of a people-versus-the-establishment campaign. This is how Viktor Orbán attained power and and clung to it in Hungary. The language of betrayal and surrender is a slippery slope.

Show Comments Write a Comment

This is the public section of the Eurointelligence Professional Briefing, which focuses on the geopolitical aspects of our news coverage. It appears daily at 2pm CET. The full briefing, which appears at 9am CET, is only available to subscribers. Please click here for a free trial, and here for the Eurointelligence home page.

 

Recent News

  • June 29, 2020
  • Édouard Philippe - mayor or prime minister?
  • Sir Humphrey, R.I.P.
  • October 17, 2019
  • A dangerous game for the EU
  • After Brexit, get ready for a German EU budget rebate
  • February 04, 2019
  • Watch out for the resurgence in Tory unity
  • The gilets-jaunes' effect on the European elections
  • What did he possibly mean by that?
  • May 25, 2018
  • Rejected by US, Germany is turning towards China...
  • ...and France is turning to Russia
  • UK ties Galileo to security partnership
  • Germans are discovering miniBoTs
  • September 14, 2017
  • Bravo Mr Juncker
  • ... what he said about the labour market
  • ... and what his speech means for Brexit
  • January 05, 2017
  • French Socialist primaries - old wine in new bottles
  • Le Pen's hard ecu
  • Will Tusk get a second mandate?
  • Themes of 2017
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 14, 2020
  • Why the far-right might win in the end
  • December 02, 2019
  • Will pension reform protests spiral out of control?
  • Malta's PM resigns over murder case
  • April 24, 2019
  • May's final and biggest gamble
  • Will the EP be Brexit's great parliamentary beneficiary?
  • Can Loiseau fight the far right given her past?
  • September 12, 2018
  • It is easy to criticise Chequers but very hard to come up with an alternative
  • February 05, 2018
  • How big is Germany's external surplus, really?
  • Macron's first election test
  • Coeure's endorsement of a fiscal union
  • July 03, 2017
  • Can Greece exit its programme without a credit line?
  • The softening Brexit
  • Macron's state of the nation address
  • November 28, 2016
  • And now what Monsieur Fillion?
  • The inescapable logic of an interim agreement
  • On Germany's foreign policy post-Trump
  • How to lose against the populists
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • March 16, 2020
  • Why many of the Covid-19 statistics are misleading
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • March 18, 2019
  • May's deal still on the table. Don't rule it out.
  • EPP decision on Fidesz still open
  • On the defeat of liberalism
  • September 21, 2018
  • SPD ministers want to continue grand coalition
  • March 28, 2018
  • The real reason for the sanctions against Russia
  • Wishful thinking: Brexit edition
  • Wishful thinking: Future of euro edition
  • Wishful thinking: Italy edition
  • October 02, 2017
  • Catalonia recalls EU and eurozone instability
  • French trade unions increase pressure over labour reforms
  • Watch out for a political accident in the UK
  • Municipal elections boost Portugal's Socialists
  • April 10, 2017
  • Nein, nein, nein, und nein
  • Sounds like a bad Brexit story, but ain’t
  • On how not to exit the euro
  • October 17, 2016
  • Ceta is dead for now
  • L’après-Hollande, c'est Hollande
  • SPD against Russia sanctions
  • Nissan to join customs union and other fanciful tales
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • May 29, 2020
  • Why it is not €500bn
  • Is reshoring the answer to this pandemic?
  • January 22, 2020
  • Erdogan and European Libya diplomacy
  • On the importance of mutual recognition agreements in the Brexit trade talks
  • September 17, 2019
  • Beware of the diplomacy of humiliation
  • Germany’s climate hypocrisy
  • May 10, 2019
  • Target2 debate raises legitimate questions with unsatisfactory answers
  • No more German questions please
  • January 04, 2019
  • Will the AfD become the Dexit party?
  • Romania's corruption problem in the spotlight of its EU presidency
  • August 28, 2018
  • Urban politics and national crisis - the Irish case
  • How anti-semitism became one of the main issues in British politics
  • April 23, 2018
  • More bad news for the SPD
  • Will Theresa May accept a customs union? The Times says yes. We think so too.
  • A comeback for Marine Le Pen?
  • December 21, 2017
  • Catalonia votes
  • A deputy prime minister resigns
  • Will Gibraltar result in another Irish fudge?
  • Blood, sweat and tears
  • August 21, 2017
  • Soft, getting softer
  • Tsipras' chances of a boost
  • On the fallacy of a middle-ground option for the eurozone
  • April 19, 2017
  • Shadows of money
  • Breppe Grillo vs Eurointelligence
  • December 19, 2016
  • Inside the customs union, outside the single market
  • Back to the future in Italy
  • The lessons from Fillon's first gaffe
  • Montebourg - a bit of everything
  • The Maastricht error
  • If Paul Romer is right...
  • August 22, 2016
  • Gold for Brexit
  • EU and Turkey talking past each other
  • Switzerland is the next migrant transit country
  • On the death of neoliberal economics
  • April 25, 2016
  • The death of the Grand Coalition
  • Insurrection against TTIP
  • Juppé to benefit from Macron hype
  • On optimal currency areas
  • Why the Artic region could be the next geopolitical troublespot
  • From a currency to a people
  • July 14, 2020
  • Why the far-right might win in the end
  • June 23, 2020
  • EU-China relations - another Waiting for Godot moment
  • Troop movements on the German-Polish border
  • June 03, 2020
  • Brexit is back
  • Trump loses. Then what?
  • May 14, 2020
  • Another migrant wave from Turkey?
  • Hyperventilating about the German court
  • April 24, 2020
  • Thinking through the details of a recovery fund
  • April 06, 2020
  • The feedback loop of Covid-19 and inequalities - part 10 of our series
  • How confinement affects mental health
  • March 19, 2020
  • A useful step - but much, much more is needed
  • The good that can come out of this
  • March 03, 2020
  • On the unintended consequences of GDPR
  • February 17, 2020
  • Security issues we should be discussing
  • Salvini has changed his mind on the euro - yet again
  • February 02, 2020
  • Is Sinn Fein the Irish anti-establishment vote?
  • Don’t assume that nobody will follow the Brits
  • January 20, 2020
  • The EU in a diplomatic bear hug
  • French pension strikes come to a halt as violence grows
  • Scholz to stick to fiscal surplus in 2021
  • January 06, 2020
  • A decade that started with a bang
  • What to expect of Spain's next government
  • Divide et impera: Macron's pension reform strategy
  • December 23, 2019
  • What’s behind the NordStream2 sanctions
  • An important ruling by the Dutch constitutional court
  • This time Popolare di Bari brings EU bank resolution into question
  • The reversal of the eurozone external balances
  • No Christmas truce in France
  • Brace for Erdogan's foreign policy ambitions
  • On the decline of the centrist left
  • December 12, 2019
  • Greta is right - the EU’s fight against climate change is most likely a PR exercise
  • December 03, 2019
  • What to look out for in the last week of the compaign
  • Trump threatens tariffs on French luxury exports
  • November 25, 2019
  • Twenty years on - and less safe than ever
  • Philippe's last round of talks ahead of strike actions
  • November 18, 2019
  • Is Macron facing another uprise against elites?
  • Forget the inflation target: Lagarde’s job is much bigger.
  • November 11, 2019
  • Grand coalition agrees to continue grand coalition
  • Can Greens and conservatives agree on priorities?
  • Germany - self-content and without energy
  • November 07, 2019
  • Merkel's Huawei decision now questioned by SPD
  • Decentralisation: the Achilles' heel of Macron?
  • November 04, 2019
  • Brexit tactical voting is happening - on both sides
  • Merkel promises 1m charging stations - but doesn't tell us how
  • November 01, 2019
  • Beware of the fallacy of composition and hindsight bias - Brexit edition
  • October 31, 2019
  • Meet Workington Man
  • NordStream 2 get final go-ahead
  • October 30, 2019
  • When conservatives try an insurrection - CDU edition
  • It could not happen here