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Tuesday 21.08.2018 | Name days: Linda, Janīna
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Professor: Martin Schulz’s becoming Germany’s Foreign Affairs Minister would not be good for Latvia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUThe possibility of Martin Schulz, leader of Social Democratic Party of Germany, becoming the country’s foreign affairs minister would not be desirable for Latvia, said Prof. Ojārs Skudra of the Social Sciences Faculty of University of Latvia.

He explains that there is no reason for Latvia to be happy about this development, because SDP stands in favour of lifting sanctions against Russia and recognizing Crimea de facto as territory part of the Russian Federation. At the same time, Skudra is sceptical about Schulz stepping down as the party’s leader and taking up post in as Foreign Affairs Minister. According to the professor, such a step would be considered seriously only if the vote regarding joint formation of the government between SPD and German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative block (CDU/CSU) turns out positive.

«Right now it is no more than speculation. In this case it is unclear which post would be given to Germany’s current foreign affairs minister Sigmar Gabriel. We should also remember that during Bundestag elections, Schulz’s slogan was that there would not be a ‘large coalition’ and that he would not work in Merkel’s government. Now it seems he has changed his mind about the coalition and even plans to take office as foreign affairs minister. Such a move would go against what he had promised during the pre-election campaign,» said Skudra.

The expert points out that it is currently hard to predict how members of SPD might vote in the internal referendum. Skudra says chances are 50/50. Skudra is sceptical about the chances there being a large number of supporters for the ‘large coalition’ concept.

«If the vote is negative, a minority government variant is possible. However, such a government is unlikely to last long. We can expect an early-term elections in summer in such a case,» added Skudra, nothing that surveys in Germany also show that should early parliamentary elections take place, SPD’s chances of winning ‘would not be high’.

According to the professor, reports from German media about CDU/CSU giving in to SPD in coalition talks are an exaggeration. «CDU should have thought of ways to convince SPD to join the ‘large coalition’ and secure at least 51% of votes in favour of the large coalition. All concessions provided so far were given to avoid an early election,» adds Skudra.

He emphasizes that the agreement will likely gather support from a minimal amount of SPD members. Such a government would not be sustainable. The politologist is convinced that life will be hard for this government. «The largest opposition party in the Bundestag is Alternative for Germany (AfG), which is traditionally in charge of the budget committee, and SPD’s finance minister will likely fight with this party. Different surveys show that 51% or 47.5% of residents would vote in favour of a large coalition. If survey results start showing that less than half of all voters are prepared to vote for this government and AfD gains more support than SPD, it will be a catastrophe,» says the professor.

On Wednesday, German chancellor’s conservative block and centrist left social-democrats reached an agreement on formation of a new government.

DPA reports that in talks that lasted 20 hours, SPD managed to secure the seat of the employment and social welfare minister. The party also secured seats of the foreign affairs and finance ministers. Media report that the leader of CSU Horst Seehofer will likely become Germany’s Interior Affairs Minister.

It is also reported that Merkel’s block has also made certain concessions to the social democrats. Media report that parties have resolved their differences and have signed an agreement on the restoration of a large coalition. However, to accomplish this, conservatives will have to give away the finance minister’s post to SPD. Until now, this post was taken by CDU politician Wolfgang Soible. This will likely mean a change for Germany’s policy in Eurozone, media say.

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  1. Walter Burke says:

    And why does Latvia care about Crimea? Why are the U.S. sanctions against Russia (and the Russian counter-sanctions against the EU, Norway, U.S. and Canada) are good for Latvia? Are you competing with Russia as an exporter of natural gas and oil?

    I know you don’t like Russia for what they did to you and I can’t blame you for that (although you were implicated and thus it would be extremely unfair to absolve you of any responsibility for the crimes of the Soviet commissars in which you willingly participated), but you don’t make a 21st century policy based exclusively on grudges and how you feel about your oversized neighbor who is not going anywhere in the near future.

    Get a life, and how about a little pragmatism, for a change?

    • Carl says:

      Well, the answer is obvious. Anyone stating that the Russian invasion of Crimea was justified, will most likely also close both eyes, should Putin decide to invade the Baltic countries.

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