Roundtable: German federal elections and the future of bilateral relations

Event: Regional and International Affairs

Prof. Wolfgang Merkel from the Social Science Center Berlin presented an analysis of the German federal elections from the 26th September. MP Nils Schmid presented the new government’s foreign policy guidelines and what this means for the future development of Sino-German ties.

Roundtable attendees in Shanghai

FES and the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies (SIIS) organized a roundtable discussion on the future of Sino-German relations after the German federal elections in September.

First, Prof. Wolfgang Merkel from the Social Science Center Berlin presented an analysis of the German federal elections to the audience. He explained how and why voter groups shifted in comparison to the previous elections in 2017, resulting in the Social Democrats’ surprising victory. Furthermore, he also expounded the concept of “people’s parties” and how their decline seems to be a lasting phenomenon. Drawing on the political orientation of the three parties inside Germany’s new “traffic light coalition”, Prof. Merkel suggested possible areas of conflict and of unity inside the government.

Then, Nils Schmid, MP in the new Bundestag and one of the negotiators of the coalition treaty’s foreign policy chapter, explained the new government’s foreign policy principles in general, and with regard to China. He underlined the importance of the EU and multilateralism for the new government and its determination to follow a united, coordinated, European China policy. At the same time, he encouraged Chinese stakeholders to seek dialogue and engage more with EU institutions. With regard to China, Schmid explained that the new government will follow the three-dimensional approach of seeing the country both as a partner, a competitor, and a rival.

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