Germany, in Europe and in the world, plays the role of engine of the European economy, being the fourth-ranked economy in the world. As other states in Europe, Germany has several dominant subjects on the public agenda. Migration is one of these subjects. A lot of subjects that appear on the electoral agenda now are determined by the role played by Germany as a state and, respectively, as an economy in Europe and in the world. These subjects are different from those treated in the elections of 2017, for example, owing to the negative developments related to climate change, IPN’s senior contributor Dionis Cenușa, a political scientist, researcher at the Institute of Political Science at Justus Liebig University in Giessen, Germany, said in a public debate titled “General federal parliamentary election: possible effects for Germans, Europeans and Moldovans”.
Dionis Cenușa noted that migration-related subjects, primarily the crisis of refugees from the Middle East, were earlier of interest to the German voters. Now these are interested in such issues as climate, the environment and the pandemic, which is dominant on the public agendas of all the states. That’s why the subjects often change depending on the crisis through which Germany or the European Unjoin goes, while Germany absorbs a lot of the crises faced by the EU, being one of the pillars of the European project in terms of the economy and political stability.
Consequently, the political parties that become involved in the election campaign take into account the German particularities and sometimes import subjects that are important at European level and that Germany should take into account, depending on the assumed political position. “Other subjects are inherent and come from inside Germany and are related to the rise in pensions or the resolving of problems related to social inequity existing in Germany. In general, the subjects from the current election campaign are somehow overshadowed by the tempests in northwestern Germany and this factor, which is not controllable, changed the priorities and electoral preferences of voters,” stated Dionis Cenușa.
The expert said the sensitive issues are already debated in the current election campaign and he does not think that something new can appear. “It goes to the crisis related to Afghanistan that is definitely not a final one. Solutions to the situation of refugees will be considered, if Germany manages, through the agency of the European Union, to invest in the capacities to host refugees in Central Asia so as to eventually mitigate a wave of refugees from Afghanistan, who can get to Germany. If this happens after the elections, the signals can anyway influence the rhetoric of the election contenders on the last 100 meters, primarily of those from the extreme right or left,” said the researcher.
He noted the dominant subjects will include the pandemic, economic recovery, through European funds and investments in the green economy as well, and the transition to a public agenda where climate change is at the top. This matters a lot, primarily for the young generation. As to an eventual coalition between Social-Democrats and the Greens, there will be probably no changes as regards the way in which the public funds should be spent. In foreign policy, the Social-Democrats will continue to use the Eastern policy that wasn’t abandoned by Angela Merkel, adding new subjects related to the relations with Russia and the Eastern neighborhood.
In another development, Dionis Cenușa said there are parties that are interested in establishing political foundations as not all the parties can get public financing from the public budget for running foundations, only if they are parliamentary parties. There are more powerful foundations, like Konrad Adenauer, and others that are less influential, but try to do a lot of things with the available budget.
“The activity of the political foundations is somehow connected with particular activism within civil society as, at foreign level at least, the foundations finance projects and help civil society in states like the Republic of Moldova to take part in the public life and, respectively, to influence the political processes by the way of developing political culture and by generating debates, by the participation in the decision-making process and, respectively, by the development of public policies. Consequently, the political foundations play a very important role rather outside the country than inside the country, at least at visible level.”
Dionis Cenușa noted that the education system in Germany is interested in promoting general knowledge related to democracy. Students studying medicine, journalism and anything else go through a general process of education centering on democracy, human rights, values, etc. That’s why any person going to university is able to study and to learn details about the particularities related to the way in which German democracy functions and what democracy for a state like Germany inside the EU means. This process has also positive repercussions for the electoral process.
The public debate “General federal parliamentary election: possible effects for Germans, Europeans and Moldovans” was staged by IPN News Agency as part of the project “Developing Political Culture through Public Debates” that is supported by the Hanns Seidel Foundation.