Germany election: Commentator discusses EU relationship

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The Social Democratic Party of Germany has secured a narrow win in this year’s German elections. The left-of-centre SDP’s victory will see Olaf Schulz installed as the country’s next Chancellor, replacing Angela Merkel, who held the position for almost two decades. The shake-up for Germany will have implications for its closest allies and other EU members going forward – the UK among them.

What do the German election results mean for the UK and Brexit?

Ms Merkel was seen as the European Union’s de-facto leader, having presided over a transformative period for the bloc between 2000 and 2021.

Her influence, alongside that of Mr Macron, has directed relationships within and outside of the EU.

Germans have signalled a desire for change by choosing Mr Scholz, but Brexit-backing Brits will not find an ally in him.

Much like his CDU counterpart, the incoming Chancellor holds a pro-EU stance.

He has previously voiced his support for EU “sovereignty” in defence, climate protection and industry.

As such, people have tipped him as another ideal partner for Mr Macron who could help divert additional funding to the bloc.

Mr Scholz has also taken the opportunity to weigh in on the UK’s trucking crisis, in part due to Brexit.

Experts have blamed a “perfect storm” of Brexit and the pandemic as primary aggravators.

The soon-to-be Chancellor has said free movement of labour – which previously added to trucking ranks – is part of the EU.

He added: “We asked the Brits not to leave the EU.”

In an interview with The Guardian, he previously said voting for Brexit was against Britain’s “own interest”.

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Although he remains committed to the EU, Mr Scholz is not hostile towards the UK.

He has spoken in favour of maintaining positive relations between the two countries.

On Saturday, as he made his final appeal to voters ahead of yesterday’s race, he said he would like the UK and Germany to “work together as friends”.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “I have always worked very hard to have good relationships between Germany and the UK.”

He added that “speaking from my heart”, he felt the UK would still have an “important” role in Europe.

He said: “I think the UK is important for the development in Europe.”

When asked whether he saw the UK as a rival, he said he wanted “good relations” between the EU and UK.

He added: “I hope the political representatives in the UK understand that the process of progress will continue.”

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