Germany is the fourth largest economy in the world, after the United States, China and Japan. With an area of 357,580 km2 and approximately 84 million inhabitants, it has a per capita income of US$ 45,723.64 and a public debt in 2020 of 69.80% of its GDP. It is the third largest exporter on the planet, reaching 1,207,545 million euros that same year -equivalent to 35.86% of GDP- with a fall of 9.24% in relation to the previous year. Germany invests over 3% of GDP in research and development (2019). Chile, as an example of a developing country, has less than 0.4%. If Germany is slightly more than four times larger in population than Chile, it is more than 15 times larger in relation to the size of GDP.
From 1949 to 1989, the year of German unification, it has had only seven heads of government, and eight if we add Angela Merkel. In the case of Italy, for example, from 1945 to the present day, there have been 45. Both countries have a political regime based on the parliamentary system. In Germany, according to 2019 figures, regular immigrants reached 15.79% of the population, equivalent to 13.1 million people. Of them the first place is occupied by Poland, followed by Turkey and then Russia. Until 2020, the authorities expected the arrival of 3.6 million refugees, mainly from the Middle East, Afghanistan, and North Africa. Chancellor Angela Merkel has governed the country for 16 consecutive years since 2005 and was successively re-elected three times until the last elections on September 26, where she decided not to run for office again, despite having almost 70% of citizens' approval. However, this was not enough for the Social Christian coalition she represented - made up of the CDU and CSU of Bavaria - to win. Most of the votes went to the Social Democratic Party (PSD), whose leader, Olaf Scholz, will probably be the new Federal Chancellor, in a coalition government accompanied by the Green Party (PV) and the Liberal Party (PL). All the above is conditional on the success of the current negotiations underway between the three parties.
Scholz has in his favor the weakening of the leader of the Greens, Annalena Baerbock, as well as the defeated candidate to substitute Merkel, Armin Laschet, who should be replaced as head of the CDU.
In addition to the soundness of the economy and its political stability, the democratic practice, and the principles of equality of German society, there is the responsibility of the leadership and the existing structure of the organizations that allow the formation of specialized technical teams by areas of work. They certainly respond to the political leaderships that are responsible for the programs presented to the electorate. The tripartite negotiations that will probably form the government coalition are currently at this stage. More than 20 commissions are working with hundreds of people seeking to harmonize their proposals, where each one presents some issues considered in principle as unbearable, but which will end up yielding to achieve the common goal of governing in a coalition. If the main concerns of the Greens are emissions, the environment or putting an end to the unlimited speeding on highways, the Liberals cling to fiscal balance, not raising taxes or increasing the debt. The winning party, the SPD, which will have to lead the coalition, must skillfully play its cards in order not to lose allies and electoral support after 16 years and the general weakening of the German left.
The challenges are many, such as building 400,000 houses per year, the energy transition to a non-polluting economy and moving towards a digital society, where Germany is lagging, which is difficult to understand in a highly developed country. All this requires heavy investments which leads to the question of how these ambitious plans will be financed. Most likely, the new government that will be born will not submit to the demands of the United States to increase defense spending to 2%, as demanded by former President Donald Trump to the countries that make up the NATO military alliance and in particular to Germany. That is why the negotiations between the three parties will take time, because the opinion of the Christian Democrats, who won the second majority in the last elections and who have left Angela Merkel in the collective memory as a great stateswoman, must also be taken into account.
Hence the talks are progressing slowly, closing the simplest issues to be solved and leaving for the end, with alternatives, the most complicated ones that will be finally resolved by the party leaders. Governing, in general, has never been easy in any country, but it is increasingly less so in open societies, with the proliferation of social networks, the concentration of wealth and the increase in inequality. Added to this is terrorism and the questions of how to deal with it, together with the migratory pressure that has ceased to be the problem of a single country and is now more a problem of the entire European Union (EU).
Demographic projections indicate that the world will reach 9 billion inhabitants by 2050 and that the African continent will double its population. Countries such as Nigeria will increase from 206 million inhabitants today to 390 million. European think tanks know where those marginalized, uneducated, unemployed, and hungry human beings, as well as the victims of the wars that have ravaged and affect Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Afghanistan, will be heading. The inhabitants of Africa today represent 16% of the world's population, i.e., 1.2 billion, which will grow to 2.5 billion human beings in 29 years' time. Europe will have to face the challenge of the African reality together and for this, it requires unity, political responsibility and resources, many billions of euros to really realize what has been said countless times: a massive investment in this continent that generates jobs and gives dignity to the people. The European countries that colonized, enslaved and enriched themselves with human trafficking and natural resources should be the ones to promote this policy.
In foreign policy, Germany is a fundamental country for strengthening the European project, but also for trying to establish a more balanced relationship with the United States, to which the EU's foreign policy has been subordinated. Building a defense policy of its own, i.e., outside NATO, is a recurring theme, but seems very difficult to materialize. Russia is still seen as a real threat to some countries and now China has joined the global scene, where the EU is increasingly diminished. All this requires unity and political leadership in an EU that the more it has expanded, the more its divisions have increased. It is no longer just the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, but also the deepening divisions with countries such as Poland and Hungary. In addition, the entry of Albania, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia together with Bosnia Herzegovina and Kosovo, all European countries including the latter, which is an artificial creation imposed by the United States and which not all EU members have recognized, is still on the waiting list. The case of Turkey seems to have been left out of any possibility of accession in the short or medium term.
The aftermath of the last war in Europe or Yugoslavian civil war that left 100,000 dead, ethnic cleansing and thousands of displaced persons, together with the bombing of Belgrade by NATO forces in 1999, is an open wound that has not healed and where the EU has responsibilities. Winds of war seem to threaten peace in the Kosovo region due to the interests and complicity of great powers, as well as the intolerance of the Serbian government.
The challenges facing Germany in this new stage that will begin, where the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, the economic consequences, the threats of terrorism, the pressures of immigrants at the borders, the scrutiny of citizenship and the political difficulties of understanding among its members still persist, require a global and long-term vision. Germany, together with France and Italy mainly, have the political responsibility of leading 27 countries in difficult times, so the search for great agreements and coordination among them should be the example for the others.