Let’s Pretend It’s Not

Let’s pretend it’s not what everyone else immediately knows it is. Until we’re forced to admit what it is a few days later, officially. It’s some bizarre new game of hide and seek government officials are playing all across Europe these days.

Terror

Similar to the way French officials behaved after last week’s knifing “incident” in Paris, German officials too now bend over backwards seeking any explanation they can find to explain Monday’s truck “incident” in Limburg – other than the most obvious one. Why is it so hard to admit that you have just witnessed yet another terror attack from someone Angela Merkel inexplicably invited to the country in 2015? Could it be that these authorities have a guilty conscience? Better late than never, I guess.

German authorities are investigating a man who drove a stolen lorry into a line of cars in Limburg in the western state of Hesse, injuring eight people.

The 32-year-old had pulled the driver of the vehicle from his cabin at a red light before using the lorry to plough into eight cars waiting at a light near the town’s central railway station at about 5.20pm (1620 BST) on Monday.

The man, a Syrian national named as Omar AI by the national broadcaster ARD, was arrested at the scene.

“My thoughts are with the injured victims of the accident and their families.”

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Wane’s World

Normally I’d say don’t let the door hit you on the way out, Angie but the Germans have this saying: Totgesagte leben länger: Those reputed to be dead live longer.

Wane

I don’t think this woman is ever going to leave.

Merkel’s political twilight sees Germany’s influence wane – As the chancellor’s final term ticks away, her ability to set the political agenda is diminishing fast.

… For some in Berlin, the French leader’s gambit reflected a broader trend — Germany’s waning influence on the international stage. There was a sense that Paris had simply stepped into a diplomatic vacuum once occupied by Berlin. “Macron can only be this active because Germany has become so passive,” says Omid Nouripour, foreign affairs spokesman for Germany’s opposition Greens.

Ms Merkel, in her twilight as chancellor, embodies this perception of decline. As her last months in power tick away, her ability to set the political agenda appears to be diminishing fast.

“We live in an age when people want someone to give them direction, and they won’t get it from her.”

Now This Is What I Call Equality

Germans know how to do this stuff. When everybody loses over here then everybody loses equally.

Merkel

Everyone Loses in Germany – Voters in state elections effectively choose ‘none of the above.’

European elections these days are generally contests between a beleaguered mainstream and insurgent alternatives. Voters in two German states on Sunday chose a form of “none of the above” as the country stumbles out of the Angela Merkel era.

It Doesn’t Matter Who Replaces Merkel. Germany Is Broken.

Isn’t That Special

Germany Isn’t Special – To pull its weight, it needs to start seeing itself as a normal country, subject to the same pressures as all its neighbors.

Germany

Polls before this weekend’s elections in states in the former East Germany show the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) comfortably capturing 20 percent or more of the vote. This is just one of the ways in which the country at the center of Europe is confronting a new state of affairs.

Ever since reunification, Germany has built its liberal democracy on a few key pillars—a disavowal of the extreme right, a focus on economic performance, and a steadfast relationship to the United States—to avoid a return to the conflagrations of the past. By following these guidelines, the country has won itself respect around the globe. But it has also persisted in treating itself as a special case, not subject to the pressures affecting its Western peers. That, in turn, has led to resentment among its partners. It is time for Germany to buck its postwar policy traditions and begin to see itself for what it is: a normal power.

A German friend of mine summed it up more succinctly: Die Deutschen wollen immer eine Extrawurst haben. The Germans always want “an extra sausage” = special treatment. Are those days finally over? In the real world, I mean? Stay tuned.

Of Course She’s Inadequate

If she were adequate they wouldn’t have nominated her for the job in the first place.

Inadequate

That’s how the EU works.

EU crisis: Merkel’s coalition ally slams Ursula von der Leyen for EU chief ‘inadequate!’ – The European Parliament is due to vote next Tuesday on whether Ms von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister and a conservative ally of Chancellor Angela Merkel, should succeed Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the EU. Ms Von der Leyen’s nomination by EU leaders has infuriated the Social Democrats (SPD), Mrs Merkel’s coalition partners, who have accused leaders of ignoring the lead candidates from the main parliamentary blocs in their horse-trading over top posts…

The SPD said of her efforts to fix gaps in military readiness, Ms von der Leyen had failed to make significant improvements and that the Bundeswehr was still “in a shabby state”.

German Of The Day: Hinterzimmer

That means backroom.

Backroom

You know, like backroom deals? Like the way EU technocrats decide who runs the show despite what the electorate says? Why even hold European elections in the first place?

Von der Leyen nomination: Germans criticise ‘backroom deal’ – “What was the point of all that?” German critics are asking, after the nomination of Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defence minister, for the top EU job of Commission president.

There were TV debates. There were election rallies. Germany’s streets were plastered with posters showing the faces of candidates for the EU’s top jobs.

But Mrs von der Leyen’s face did not appear on any posters. Instead her nomination was suddenly announced after weeks of difficult, behind-the-scenes wrangling between EU leaders.

This is European, I mean EU democracy in action, people.

German Government “Sways?”

Of course it sways. That’s all it’s ever done as long as Angela Merkel has been in power.

Sways

The latest “grand coalition” that nobody here wants anyway is now swaying to its end, it seems. Or maybe it isn’t. Let’s see. Whatever. But at the latest once the SPD disappears completely from the stage of history there won’t be anybody “grand” enough left to keep this grand coalition farce going.

German Government Sways After Social Democrat Leader Quits – German Chancellor Angela Merkel vowed Sunday to continue with her government after the leader of the center-left Social Democrats, a junior partner in the coalition, resigned following a series of disappointing election results.

In a surprise announcement hours earlier, Andrea Nahles had announced she planned to quit, saying she wanted “clarity” after questions were raised about her ability to lead the Social Democrats. The party finished third in last month’s European Parliament election, receiving 15.8% of the vote behind Merkel’s center-right Union bloc with 28.9% and the Greens with 20.5%.

“The party is in an extremely serious situation. If we don’t manage to stick together and find a way out of it then things will look really bleak.”

AKK Taling CaCaCa

Mini-MErkel alarm! Could this be the end of her beginning or the beginning of her end?

AKK

One can only hope for the later.

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (AKK), leader of Germany’s centre-right CDU, faced a massive backlash on Tuesday after calling for tighter rules on politicking on the internet, with critics accusing her of advocating online censorship.

Her comments came after European elections in which the CDU and its main left-of-centre rival, the Social Democrats, slumped to their worst results in a national election since the second world war, as voters defected in their droves to the Greens.

“Freedom of expression is a precious commodity in a democracy. What we need to talk about are rules that would apply during election campaigns.”

The Natives Are Getting Restless

Nice spin, though: Europeans showed belief in the EU project, experts claimed Monday, despite long-dominant centrist parties losing ground to euroskeptic and nationalist opponents in the EU elections.

So, by voting for euroskeptic and nationalist parties you are actually voting for the EU? Uh, OK.

Are we having fake news yet?

“I think the voter turnout shows that people really still care about the EU and what the European Union is doing. It shows a trend that, rather than weakening, it’s going to strengthen.”

What A Horrifying Thought

I shudder to think of what could happen to Europe after this weekend’s big European Parliament elections. I mean, should the people actually choose to vote for parties that would, gulp, “elevate the sovereignty and economic interests of individual member-states over the collective interests of the EU.

Horror

The horror.

Salvini, who’s framed himself the de facto leader of this coalition, has embraced the slogan “Towards a Common Sense Europe.” Besides Le Pen’s National Rally and Wilders’s Party for Freedom, other far-right parties have joined the cause, including Germany’s Alternative for Deutschland (AfD) and Austria’s (currently scandal plagued) Freedom Party. Broadly, these leaders want to curtail immigration. They may want to reorient the EU’s priorities on the global stage, too.

But, mostly, they want to elevate the sovereignty and economic interests of individual member-states over the collective interests of the EU.

“There are no extremists, racists, or fascists in this square. Here you won’t find the far-right, but the politics of good sense. The extremists are those who have governed Europe for the past 20 years.”

PS: Isn’t that picture they chose to use for the article brilliant? No suggestive images here, folks.