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16 December 2021

New chancellor is a 'big deal' for Germany

The election of Olaf Scholz is a “big deal” for Germany but it “remains to be seen” whether the new chancellor will bring about radical change.

German flag flies in front of the Reichstag Building, Berlin
German flag flies in front of the Reichstag Building, Berlin

Scholz, a member of the Social Democratic Party, succeeded Angela Merkel as chancellor in December, bringing an end to the latter’s 16-year tenure.

Scholz’s party is one part of the so-called ‘traffic-light coalition’ with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party but, despite the new-look coalition taking control of the legislative agenda, Dr Isabelle Hertner, from King’s College London, says it remains unclear what impact the new administration will make.

Dr Hertner said: “After 16 years, having someone new in place is a big deal. Will it be a big change in terms of how Germany is governed and how it will interact with Europe and the world, that remains to be seen.

“I think there will be some differences but I think it is probably not a radical shift.”

Dr Hertner, from the Department of European and International Studies, was speaking to Professor Anand Menon on the UK in a Changing Europe’s Beyond Brexit podcast. They also discussed climate change, the EU, foreign policy, attitudes to Russia and migration among other issues facing the new coalition.

You can listen to the podcast here.

In this story

Isabelle Hertner for KCL profile

Senior Lecturer in Politics of Britain in Europe


Professor of European Politics and Foreign Affairs