Stability has prevailed in German election, says French minister
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is France’s closest partner and their relationship lies at the heart of the European Union
France welcomed on Monday the outcome of Germany’s national election as a victory for 'stability and continuity' and urged the leaders of the parties likely to be in the next coalition to make early contact with the government in Paris.
Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD) narrowly won Sunday’s vote and said they would start what could prove to be months of talks on forging a three-way coalition. Their leader and possible future chancellor, Olaf Scholz, was finance minister in Angela Merkel’s outgoing conservative-led coalition.
Germany, Europe’s largest economy, is France’s closest partner and their relationship lies at the heart of the European Union. President Emmanuel Macron forged strong working relations with Merkel, who had not sought a fifth stint as chancellor.
In the first official French reaction to the German vote, European Affairs Minister Clement Beaune told France 2 television: “Here is a country, our close neighbour, that puts great value on moderation, stability and continuity.”
“I think that, informally, the talks between German political parties and us should start right now so that we get to know one another," he added.
The Social Democrats, who won 25.7 per cent of the vote, ahead of Merkel’s conservative bloc on 24.1 per cent, have said they will seek an alliance with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats.
Beaune welcomed the fact that all three parties, as well as the conservative CDU-CSU bloc which has also said it hopes to be in the next government, are unreservedly pro-European.
The far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD), which takes a much more sceptical stance on Europe, won 10.3 per cent on Sunday, down from 12.6 per cent four years ago. By contrast the far-right in France, which holds presidential and parliamentary elections next year, is close to 30 per cent in opinion polls.
“I would say that, on a certain level, the Germans have voted for Angela Merkel,” said Beaune, noting that both Scholz and his Christian Democrat rival Armin Laschet had presented themselves in the campaign as the true heir to the outgoing chancellor, who has led Germany for 16 years.
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