It was a crucial choice in Germany before the European Parliament elections, which will be held May 23-26, 2019. As of Dec. 7, Chancellor Angela Merkel is no longer the president of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party. Her 18-year presidency ended. Merkel, who will no longer be nominated for chancellor in the next German federal election for the 20th Bundestag, also determined the new chancellor of CDU's pre-2019 party. The new CDU president will, therefore, be able to prepare for the best selection for the 2021 elections.
The new chairwoman of CDU is now Annegret Kramps-Karrenbauer (in Germany they called her "AKK" for short), who will continue to purse Merkel's policies. She is no longer just the president of the CDU, but she will also be the chancellor of Germany in the near future. Because the CDU and its sister party in Bavaria, the Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), are Germany's first party, and even in the latest polls, the Social Democrats have twice the rate of voting.
Most likely the Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer will be the chancellor of the CDU/CSU-Greens coalition government in 2021. Because Social Democrats are steadily melting, and if they don't change their current president in the next two years, they have no chance of gaining the confidence of German voters.
The 56-year-old AKK was the prime minister of Germany's Saarland province between 2011 and 2018. At the beginning of this year, Angela Merkel, who was undergoing a difficult period, commissioned her as the CDU secretary-general. By having Merkel's full trust as a female politician and with a formidable struggle in the CDU, she has become the president of the CDU.
Friedrich Merz, 63, was a favorite in the German business world. Friedrich Merz was hopeful she would be chosen because of her background as a member of the European Parliament between 1989 and 1994, also being president of the CDU/CSU Federal Parliament Group between 2000 and 2002, and also being a millionaire lawyer. But Merkel's choice was AKK and once again Angela Merkel won.
The election of the new president of the CDU and also the new chancellor of Germany has come to an accurate schedule. Angela Merkel has also made preparations for the European Parliament, the EU Commission and the Council of the EU, which will be renewed by the second half of 2019.
As a result of the European Parliament elections, the European People's Party (PPE), representing the Christian Democrats in the European Union, which is also a member of the CDU, appears to be the largest group in Parliament. In this election, PPE's candidate is Manfred Weber, who is still the president of PPE Group in Parliament. Manfred Weber is a member of the CDU's sister party, CSU. If he wins the election which he seems likely, he will be selected as the president of the EU Commission. The current EU Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, has decided to retire now, and I think that was the right decision.
The Social Democrats, who were "miserable" throughout Europe and Germany, identified their candidates for the European Parliament elections last Saturday in Lisbon. They have elected the first vice president of the EU Commission Dutch Frans Timmermans. The 57-year-old former Dutch foreign minister is a very accurate choice. Timmermans is a successful politician. However, with the weak position of the Social Democrats across Europe, there is absolutely no chance of finishing the election first and becoming commissioner. Even though the German Social Democratic Party increased its claim last Sunday at the SPD by putting the 50-year-old Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley in the race, the expectations in Germany are no more than 15 percent of the vote. I think the result will be even lower. Even in Germany, Social Democrats, who have a voting rate of 13 and 15 percent, can hardly say they have a chance to win the elections across the EU. Also, rumors are spreading that Katarina Barley will not go to the European Parliament after the elections but will stay in Germany. If that's the case, the voters won't forgive.
Aside from the European policy, all these selected names are very positive for Turkey-EU and Turkey-Germany relations. Since Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, promises to pursue Angela Merkel's line, this is a pleasant situation for the relationship between the two countries.
Regarding Turkey-EU relations, although Manfred Weber has negative statements about "Turkey being a member of the EU," he has consistent approaches to Turkey. We are hopeful to see Frans Timmermans who is striving for better relations between Turkey and the EU Commission.
The year 2019 seems to be quite a hot year. We will see.