Angela Merkel's Coming Demise

The failure of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to form a coalition government in her fourth term of office has, for the first time, given rise to speculations as to her possible demise as the long-time and seemingly indispensable fixture of German and European politics. Such is the respect, bordering on veneration, for ‘Mutti’ Merkel in the European mainstream press, that few bother to look critically at her policies and accept without question her assurances that she “will make sure that her country continues to be well governed.” Yet, there is by now overwhelming evidence that her policies have neither been very successful, nor marked with a great deal of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity,” as she has accused President Trump’s agenda of lacking. What this could mean, of course, is that Emperor Angela has no clothes, with all this implies for her political future and for Germany and the European Union beyond.

There is much to criticize in most of her policies from her sudden decision to outlaw the nuclear industry only months after legally extending its operations, to mindlessly tying the destiny of the EU to that of the Greek bailouts (“the end of the Euro is the end of Europe”), her support for Russian pipelines, and several others. But limits of space would allow us to focus only at the two policies of which she was the main architect and proponent: energy transition (Energiewende) and the migrants disaster.

As the German minister of the environment (1994-1998), Merkel was an early and enthusiastic supporter of a wholesale transition to renewable energies in a country not known for either much sun or wind, and became a key organizer of the Kyoto Protocol. By the time she first became chancellor in 2005, the renewable energy law (EEG) was in full swing and its disastrous implications soon manifested themselves. In 2017 German households paid 30 cents per KWh compared to 9 cents in the U.S. and 16 cents in France. This led to 300,000 German families unable to pay their bills and having their electricity disconnected. A large portion of their bill (6.88 cents) was made up of renewable energy surcharges. It is estimated that in ten years the average household will pay euro 440 per annum for electricity, while the cost of the Energiewende would explode to euro 520 billion by 2025, to be borne once again by the German taxpayer. Despite these huge expenses, Germany continues to rely on lignite coal to avoid blackouts and will be unable to meet its CO2 emissions promises for years to come. No wonder a prominent former green executive calls the Energiewende “a disaster in the making.”

As bad as Merkel’s environmental policies were, the impact of her migration policies are a lot worse because they affect many other countries. What happened there very simply was Merkel making a decision without bothering to consult even her cabinet, let alone EU authorities or neighboring countries. And she did that totally disregarding established parliamentary procedures in the Bundestag. So much for the rule of law. It bears reminding that Frau Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, not of Europe, though she certainly acted as the latter in this particular case. She then compounded her error by demanding that the Eastern European EU members accept migrant quotas as determined by the European Commission, that is to say by Berlin. This has set in motion a widening fault line between East and West in the old continent that could imperil the EU long after Merkel is gone.

A monumental green gabfest has come to an end in Bonn with predictably nothing to show. But not to worry, says the left-liberal Zeit weekly, “since there were not any great expectations for it anyway.” Yet, there was and there is plenty to worry for the assembled eco-cabal from 190 countries, if they were to remove the green shades for even a moment, not least because it coincided with the collapse of the efforts to form a government of three German parties that have very little in common. For they were told in no uncertain terms by chancellor Angela Merkel herself that saying goodbye to the hated coal energy in her country is not in the cards for a long time to come, if ever. Coming from the world champion of renewable energy, this must have hurt.  What they were not told would have hurt a lot more, and that is the reality that this experiment in German wishful thinking is collapsing in front of our eyes, very likely spelling doom for the entire renewable utopia long after Merkel is gone.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.but

The failure of German chancellor, Angela Merkel, to form a coalition government in her fourth term of office has, for the first time, given rise to speculations as to her possible demise as the long-time and seemingly indispensable fixture of German and European politics. Such is the respect, bordering on veneration, for ‘Mutti’ Merkel in the European mainstream press, that few bother to look critically at her policies and accept without question her assurances that she “will make sure that her country continues to be well governed.” Yet, there is by now overwhelming evidence that her policies have neither been very successful, nor marked with a great deal of “democracy, freedom, respect for the rule of law and human dignity,” as she has accused President Trump’s agenda of lacking. What this could mean, of course, is that Emperor Angela has no clothes, with all this implies for her political future and for Germany and the European Union beyond.

There is much to criticize in most of her policies from her sudden decision to outlaw the nuclear industry only months after legally extending its operations, to mindlessly tying the destiny of the EU to that of the Greek bailouts (“the end of the Euro is the end of Europe”), her support for Russian pipelines, and several others. But limits of space would allow us to focus only at the two policies of which she was the main architect and proponent: energy transition (Energiewende) and the migrants disaster.

As the German minister of the environment (1994-1998), Merkel was an early and enthusiastic supporter of a wholesale transition to renewable energies in a country not known for either much sun or wind, and became a key organizer of the Kyoto Protocol. By the time she first became chancellor in 2005, the renewable energy law (EEG) was in full swing and its disastrous implications soon manifested themselves. In 2017 German households paid 30 cents per KWh compared to 9 cents in the U.S. and 16 cents in France. This led to 300,000 German families unable to pay their bills and having their electricity disconnected. A large portion of their bill (6.88 cents) was made up of renewable energy surcharges. It is estimated that in ten years the average household will pay euro 440 per annum for electricity, while the cost of the Energiewende would explode to euro 520 billion by 2025, to be borne once again by the German taxpayer. Despite these huge expenses, Germany continues to rely on lignite coal to avoid blackouts and will be unable to meet its CO2 emissions promises for years to come. No wonder a prominent former green executive calls the Energiewende “a disaster in the making.”

As bad as Merkel’s environmental policies were, the impact of her migration policies are a lot worse because they affect many other countries. What happened there very simply was Merkel making a decision without bothering to consult even her cabinet, let alone EU authorities or neighboring countries. And she did that totally disregarding established parliamentary procedures in the Bundestag. So much for the rule of law. It bears reminding that Frau Merkel is the chancellor of Germany, not of Europe, though she certainly acted as the latter in this particular case. She then compounded her error by demanding that the Eastern European EU members accept migrant quotas as determined by the European Commission, that is to say by Berlin. This has set in motion a widening fault line between East and West in the old continent that could imperil the EU long after Merkel is gone.

A monumental green gabfest has come to an end in Bonn with predictably nothing to show. But not to worry, says the left-liberal Zeit weekly, “since there were not any great expectations for it anyway.” Yet, there was and there is plenty to worry for the assembled eco-cabal from 190 countries, if they were to remove the green shades for even a moment, not least because it coincided with the collapse of the efforts to form a government of three German parties that have very little in common. For they were told in no uncertain terms by chancellor Angela Merkel herself that saying goodbye to the hated coal energy in her country is not in the cards for a long time to come, if ever. Coming from the world champion of renewable energy, this must have hurt.  What they were not told would have hurt a lot more, and that is the reality that this experiment in German wishful thinking is collapsing in front of our eyes, very likely spelling doom for the entire renewable utopia long after Merkel is gone.

Alex Alexiev is chairman of the Center for Balkan and Black Sea Studies (cbbss.org) and editor of bulgariaanalytica.org. He tweets on national security at twitter.com/alexieff and could be reached at alexievalex4@gmail.com.but

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