• The German parliamentary elections take place on Sunday, whatever happens they will end Angela Merkel's tenure as chancellor.

  • What to expect from his replacement in the chancellery for Franco-German relations?

  • Even if uncertainty is in order, Ulrich Pfeil, professor of German civilization, interviewed by

    20 Minutes

    , thinks that the most likely is that nothing really changes.

Chirac, Sarkozy, Hollande and finally Macron: Angela Merkel saw four French presidents pass during her tenure in the German chancellery.

This time, it is she who is leaving.

It is difficult to say who will succeed him after the legislative elections on Sunday, because the results are expected to be tight.

But what does the electoral campaign indicate about the future dynamics of the Franco-German relationship, long seen as the driving force behind European construction? 

20 Minutes

asked Ulrich Pfeil, professor of German civilization at the University of Lorraine in Metz.

The latest polls are very close, but indicate that it is still possible that the next chancellor is Social Democrat (SPD).

What would that change vis-à-vis Paris?

If we look at Franco-German relations between the two countries, there are regular disagreements or tensions, but they are quite stable. To take an example from the current situation, Macron has made a lot of proposals and Merkel has not always answered them. You have the impression that they are very good friends, especially when you look at the photos, but I think you still have to be a little disappointed when you look at Merkel's record in relation to Franco-German relations and for the Europe. Because she could have done more things.

Regarding the rest, Olaf Scholz, the SPD candidate, came to Paris a few days ago to see Emmanuel Macron. Their relations will depend above all on the coalition that will be formed. If this coalition is red-red-green (SPD, Die Linke, the left of the left and Greens), the Die Linke party would be the weak link. In its program, this party speaks of a departure from NATO and a strengthening of relations with Russia. However, Olaf Scholz said that one of the criteria for joining his coalition would be the maintenance of Germany in NATO. Scholz wants a coalition with the Greens and the Liberals (FDP). With such a coalition, I believe that there would be great continuity in Franco-German relations. At last,nobody wants a new grand coalition (with the Christian Democrats of the CDU-CSU and the SPD) even with Olaf Scholz as chancellor.

During the last debate last night, the main candidates for the chancellery seemed to insist on a strengthening of the European Union.

What better way to satisfy the ambitions of the Elysee Palace in this area, which had been largely disappointed since the Sorbonne speech in 2017?

Yes, I think it is possible.

Even if Armin Laschet wins and can form a coalition.

He always says he is there to continue Merkel's policy, but I think he could strengthen Franco-German relations.

He is currently plenipotentiary for cultural relations with France, he is from Aix-la-Chapelle, he is very close to France.

Like Olaf Scholz by the way, I don't really see a difference.

Again, it will all depend on the coalition they lead.

Concretely, what could strengthening the European Union mean?

I found it astonishing that in the electoral campaign in Germany, we do not talk about Europe at all.

Even on the issue of security policy, when Afghanistan was in the news at the start of the campaign… These subjects were absent from the debates.

We don't really have a concrete idea of ​​what these politicians want to do next.

It is possible that at the end of the negotiations the government will have to be supported by three different parties, which has not happened for a very long time.

Does this mean that the future chancellor will be in a weak position compared to Paris?

Yes and no.

If it is an SPD-Greens-Liberal coalition, there will be no problem I think: as regards relations with Paris, on Europe, they tend to agree.

Olaf Scholz will impose or ensure that relations with Macron are good.

If he has to rule with Die Linke, it will already be a little more difficult.

Especially concerning military or security questions, because here, when we listen to the speeches, we are talking not only of the departure of NATO, but also of the end of military engagements outside Germany.

And France wants something else entirely!

In addition to the context of the diplomatic submarine crisis, France has a completely different idea of ​​the security policy to be pursued in Europe.

It is the hypothesis of a red-red-green coalition which would be much more difficult for Paris.

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