Germany got its way. Well, German business with business interests in China did. The German EU Council Presidency ended with a big bang on December 30, when the EU and China signed their long-awaited bilateral trade and investment agreement, the “Comprehensive Agreement on Investment” (CAI). The agreement had been negotiated since 2014 and its adoption at the very end of last year came as a surprise.
Germany is China’s most important economic partner in the EU and China is Germany’s most important economic partner in Asia. Germany therefore has relied on a negotiation- and discussion-based approach in its relations with China following the principle “change through trade” (Wandel durch Handel). While other western powers, such as the United States, already took a tougher stance vis-à-vis China on past occasions, Germany regarded it more as a partner than a competitor. However, things have changed in recent years.
Can (or should) Germany accommodate the US on the steel dispute (and what could Germany lose)?
On the 3rd of July the two German Christian democratic parties, the Christian Democratic Union, CDU, and the Christian Social Union, CSU, presented their common electoral manifesto for the federal election that will take place on 24th of September 2017. The document is titled “For a Germany that is good to live in” (Für ein Deutschland, in dem wir gut und gerne leben). The CSU added a “Plan for Bavaria” (Bayernplan) that is not considered in this paper.
Although 56 per cent of Turkish public opinion does not support Turkish foreign policy regarding Syria, due to the way Turkish government managed the human crisis (and spent its money), the population agrees on the necessity on persisting to solve this problematic situation. And thus does Europe. Following the Summit of EU leaders on October 15th, German Chancellor Angela Merkel took an emergency trip to Turkey, where she needed to recruit the Turkish side to stop the flood.
The trauma of the July bailout
Alexander Lukashenko that hosted the summit in Minsk could barely hide his happiness. He did not take a direct part in the 16-hours long negotiations, but got a precious opportunity to transform his status from the one of “the last European Dictator” into the one of the main European peace-maker with the European leaders paying a visit to him.
Germany has had to rethink its relations with its European partners twice in four years: in 2010, when the sovereign debt crisis hit the euro area - and following the winter of 2013/14, when Ukraine's westward course triggered a conflict with Russia.
Beijing would vote for Angela Merkel in Germany’s upcoming general elections.