He has not left yet and his absence has already begun to be discounted. Angela Merkel is still in the Chancellery but has already entered the normally circumstantial purgatory that often punishes those who have excelled over their contemporaries.
Certain novelties of the new Government constitute a criticism of the balance of those that have preceded it. She is a Europeanist without reservations or complexes: Merkel had them. Willing to change whatever it takes: the chancellor only changed when there was no other option, always at the last minute. With a more institutional and balanced vision of the European Union, more classical in the European integration method led by the Commission, instead of the Merkelian method of intergovernmental union, led by national governments and, necessarily, by France and Germany.
Excessive expectations often yield mediocre results. It is not certain that the new chancellor will fly as high as Merkel. Had he led the change that has occurred in Germany in these 16 years in his program in 2005, he would never have been Chancellor. Only the closure of the nuclear power plants, its immigration policies and the issuance of European debt make up a social democratic and green program that would already like to match the traffic light coalition that is going to take over. With an additional merit, typical of his leadership on the right: he has shifted the opinion and vote of the German conservatives towards the center, when the majority of his co-religionists around the world, Spain included, have done exactly the opposite.
Thanks to his prudence, the results are brilliant. Disappointment did not occur with her. Let’s see if Olaf Scholz is so lucky. His expectations are high and significant in foreign policy. European strategic sovereignty, not mere autonomy, is a central concept of the coalition contract. The balances must certainly be preserved, and there are the transatlantic commitment and NATO, but energy sovereignty must also be guaranteed to avoid blackmail by the authoritarians; and digital, closely linked to security and cyberwarfare.
Germany will cease to be the hegemon reticent. He will preach his Europeanism with the example of his social, equality, environmental and digital policies. It will take a more determined course and oriented towards human rights and democratic values. It is not enough to manage crises as Merkel has been able to do. A less accommodating and more demanding attitude is now required, especially towards illiberal and non-compliant partners, such as Hungary and Poland. The coalition contract defines a strategic solidarity between those who share values and liberal systems. It is the drawing of a democratic community in the face of the authoritarian alliance forged under the leadership of Moscow and Beijing. Vast and ambitious program.