Correspondent in Berlin
«As long as we enjoy freedom of movement of capital, products and people, the Greek, Italian or Spanish borders are not Greek, Italian or Spanish borders, they are European borders», Defends Friedrich Merz, the candidate with the most options to become Merkel’s successor at the head of the German Christian Democratic Union (CDU). Merz insists that Germany must be much more involved in achieving a common European immigration policy than before and that the EU must strengthen external borders to keep the migration issue under control. “We have an agreement with Turkey that has been in place for four years, and I consider that a success, but it is also clear to me that is not enough‘, He told a group of foreign correspondents in Berlin, making it clear that this is a majority opinion within the CDU and that this will be the party line after the Merkel era, after the 2021 elections, whatever that may be. the candidate for chancellor.
Merz recalled that he worked for five years in the European Parliament and “that is why I know that the day-to-day internal to the EU is very complex, very hard work, but I also know that this is the only way, the only way that Germany can face to the current challenges». In his openly declared anti-Europeanism he has distanced himself from the anti-European and anti-foreign party Alternative for Germany (AfD), which he is confident of being able to steal votes in the next elections. For this reason, a desire to shift the CDU to the right from the center in which Merkel has held the party for the last four terms.
“Whoever sees it like this is wrong,” corrects that reading, “I don’t want a displacement of the CDU to either side, what I want from the CDU is an opening towards a broader spectrum of voters ». “It is a fact that we have lost voters due to resignation, because they could not identify where this party was. The old clichés of left and right are no longer enough to describe reality. I have been saying for years that I consider it correct to legislate a minimum wage, I have been insisting for years on the need to strengthen the social market economy and an entire chapter of my book is dedicated to highlighting the defense of environmental policies. Is that left? Is it right? In reality we are not discussing the goals, but about the way to reach them and, in that sense, the voter has to be clear about it, he must know what he is voting, “Merz responds to those who see his arm in his figure. that will return the CDU to its more conservative face, “there are those who call it polarizing, I say it is making the differences between political parties recognizable.”
Far from the far right
At the same time, Merz clearly distances himself from AfD and assures that «I will not move not a millimeter in the direction of that party, they know they have nothing to do with me. But he also assures that “the CDU can give a political home to well-intentioned conservative voters, who at some point have felt politically orphans, keep that part of the electorate together under a Christian-Democratic umbrella, integrate it and prevent it from becoming radicalized, especially in the East of the territory, where democracy is younger and less established.
Merz, who according to polls is valued by the electorate as the politician more competent in economic matters of all German parties, says that financial aid to avoid recession, as a result of the pandemic, should “be prolonged as long as necessary but as short as possible”, and criticizes Merkel’s policy in this regard, claiming that ” Aid through taxation would have been much more effective, instead of these, because we would be making sure to help companies that will continue to create wealth after this crisis, instead of injecting money into companies that will very possibly disappear after they disappear the AIDS”. “Commerzbank was rescued 10 years ago and the German State is still present in its shareholding, it is an example of how things should not be done,” he says.
Consider that Biden «is a new opportunity to retake common interests between the US, the EU and Germany, a new opportunity to strengthen multilateral organizations such as NATO. I do not agree with Macron that NATO is dead, I am rather of the opinion of the president of my party, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, that from within NATO we must strengthen Europe. “We must make Americans feel that they are not alone in the task of maintaining peace in the world, and Europe is not alone,” he says, “together, not apart.”
China imperial project
His speech ignites when the relationship with China appears on the table. «I have behind me two decades of business work with China and I am convinced that we have underestimated its speed of development and your long-term plan. Unlike democracies, authoritarian regimes have time and China has a long-term global imperial project. “Europe does not have a common strategy for China, but I can assure you that China has a strategy for Europe, that is why it is very important that the EU develop a common policy in this regard on the concept of reciprocity,” he underlines, “we are too dependent and Believe me, there is not the remotest illusion that China can move towards democracy, it will continue to be installed in state capitalism, so we must ask ourselves what we will do the day China buys European infrastructure.
On the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, to transport Russian gas to the north coast of Germany and how much damage it has caused in the relationship with the US, Merz says that “Germany cannot stop the project” and considers it “unacceptable meddling by the US Senate“But agrees on a two-year moratorium before allowing construction to complete,” two years to reach a consensus between Russia, Poland, the US and Germany on the conditions under which it could come into operation.