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Krautsource #5 - Links from political limbo

Jannis Brühl
Jannis Brühl
Germany is in limbo. After the election, party leaders are still in the early stages of negotiating with each other whether they seriously want to negotiate with each other. Although there are more and more signs that the liberal FDP will not push for a “Jamaica” coalition with Conservatives and Greens, but rather try to gap its ideological differences with the left-of-center Social Democrats and the Greens, we are still far from a done deal.
This gives us some breathing space. Let’s look at interesting stuff others have written about Germany.

Links of the week
  • Do you know who Heiko Maas is? In this piece that I have to call almost cruel, Matthew Karnitschnig from Politico bashes the outgoing German Foreign Minister for being basically invisible. His review of Maas’ time in office is scathing: “Though his girlfriend once played a German diplomat in a made-for-TV movie, Maas himself had no experience in foreign policy.” Also, his “command of English could be charitably described as rudimentary”. That is all a bit mean, especially as Maas has just been directly voted into the Bundestag in a clear victory against Conservative Peter Altmaier, another federal minister running in the same district. Still, this piece is not about humiliating Maas (ok, maybe a little bit), but about a structural change in German foreign politics: Under Angela Merkel, the Chancellory has absorbed most of what used to be the responsibility of the Foreign Office. And the next chancellor is unlikely to transfer that power back to whoever succeeds Maas.
  • Germany is now like Europe: Until this election, the German party system as represented in parliament has been an anomaly. The Economist now describes an evolution in which Germany starts to resemble the other European nations in many respects: The parties of the center have shrunk; coalition building has become extremely complex and might even become horrible (as in Belgium - god forbid!); the right fringe takes a big share of votes, but will not govern. And, what I think is most important: Young people vote for completely different parties than their parents and grandparents. This generational polarization is really something to watch.
  • Ready to learn some slang? The Local has a nice little “dictionary” of German words that are important for talking about the post-election negotiations - from Sondierungsgespräche to GroKo. Enjoy pronouncing them!
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Jannis Brühl
Jannis Brühl @jbruehl

This is my newsletter about German politics and history for an international audience. Why stay national and not take journalism to the global stage? Expect a lot of Realpolitik, plenty of Zeitgeist and maybe even some Schadenfreude.

I have been a journalist for more than a decade, working in New York City, Berlin and Cologne, and now head the technology news team at a major German media house in Munich. I hold a Masters degree in Political Science and American Cultural Studies. And I like rap music.

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