Merkel battling the one crisis she will not be able to defeat – ‘Limits of her power’

Angela Merkel says EU budget delay is a ‘serious problem’

The Chancellor arrived in Brussels today for the EU summit where officials will discuss the new budget, recovery package and Brexit. Despite Germany being the strongest economic power within the bloc, a political scientist has insisted she is now entering the final crisis of her tenure. In an interview with German publication Deutschlandfunk, political scientist Albrecht von Lucke, claimed the Chancellor is now coming to the limit of her power as her time in office nears its end.

Asked on whether the pandemic showed the limits of a politician’s power, he said: “This is an absolute novelty what we are experiencing with this pandemic, and I believe that it will also be at the end of this year – and today we have seen it to some extent.

“A crisis of the century in her Chancellorship – and she has experienced so many crises, from the financial crisis to the euro crisis, the Greek crisis, the refugee crisis.

“This pandemic is once again of a very special quality because it actually shows how limited the options are, and incidentally not in a financial way. That was very ironic.

“She also said almost succinctly, the money is there.

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“It is not primarily finances that stand in her way.

“No, it is about the question of how far a policy can reach the population and how willing they are to actually implement the measures prescribed.

“That is what is new in this crisis.”

With Ms Merkel approaching the final year of her term as Chancellor in 2021, he also added she is now at the “limits of her power”.

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During the summit, the EU 27 will discuss the crucial €1.8trillion (£1.6trillion) budget and coronavirus rescue package.

Hungary and Poland had thrown the package into jeopardy after announcing their opposition to the money being linked to rule of law proceedings.

Brussels has enacted rule of law proceedings against the states following breaches of democratic norms such as the independence of the judiciary.

Although the EU cannot remove the two states, it can suspend certain rights attributed with membership to the bloc.

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In order to sustain hopes of the package being in place before January 1, officials from the EU Council put forward a new mechanism to attempt to appease Poland and Hungary.

The new scheme of linking EU funding to rule of law criteria cannot be applied until the European Court of Justice rules on its legality.

Rule of law proceedings will also only be linked to the upcoming budget and not impact previous money given to the states.

It is thought political pressure from Ms Merkel helped push the compromise on the mechanism in order for states across the bloc to be able to access crucial funding.

Speaking on Thursday, Ms Merkel stated the summit will be the moment of truth for the bloc’s unity.

She added: “Germany has worked hard to bridge the differences and find solutions for the concerns of Poland and Hungary while at the same time upholding the rule of law mechanism as agreed with the European Parliament.

“We will see today if we can find unanimity.”

French President, Emmanuel Macron also expressed his desire for the budget to be agreed during the two-day summit.

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