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tv   Inside Story 2017 Ep 254  Al Jazeera  September 13, 2017 2:32pm-3:01pm AST

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feeling about the people who are suffering every day the president of the e.u. commission has used his annual state of the union address to clear the wind is once again back in europe's sails. told the european parliament there was now a window of opportunity to build a more united union after a bruising couple of years he also wants migrants who don't want refugee protection to be sent back home i mean sing of the arab league in cairo descended into a shouting match ministers from the four blockading countries and cattle traded accusations a cattery diplomatic use some governments of waging a media campaign against doha russia's defense minister is in the syrian capital damascus to discuss military cooperation there he held a meeting with the president bashar al assad focusing on efforts to take control of the rose or which had been held by isis or for more than three years. fifty five people are confirmed dead in the u.s. in the caribbean after hurricane but there are fears that number called more news
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on the web site is there for you all the time out to zero dot com i'm back at the usual time tomorrow up next it's inside story so you sort of. seeking a fourth term germany's first female chancellor leads the opinion polls in the run up to this month's federal election will voters forgive angela merkel for some of her controversial policies and how has a long running leadership changed germany and the e.u. this is inside story.
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they're welcome to the program i'm jane she's been cold calculating and warm a pragmatist and an idealist angela merkel is a woman of contradictions but one thing's for sure she's made a mark on germany and the rest of europe the chancellor is campaigning for reelection to a fourth term voting is on september the twenty fourth and for what it's worth opinion polls say she has a strong lead but if we've learned anything over the past year it's that anything can happen in elections germany's veteran leader faced her main opponent martin schultz in a t.v. debate last week he leads the social democratic party which is expected to win second place in parliament there is a close race for third between the far right. the far left parties as merkel said a month ago that means there are no natural coalitions german voters of various
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crucial issues to think about especially immigration merkel's been both praised and criticized for her two year old refugee policy she's noticeably backtracked on the so-called open doors approach as the election draws near there's also been a rise in far right and nationalism largely in response to merkel's open arms policy that friction has dominated german politics lately on foreign policy toward trump becoming u.s. president has changed the balance of western leadership and publicly snubbed merkel germany's next chancellor will have to manage the change in transatlantic relations but to give us more insight on what to expect in the upcoming german elections we are joined by york for brig senior transatlantic fellow central and eastern europe at the german marshall fund of the united states in berlin in london we have nina shake european political analyst at hand very strategy and bethany alan ebrahimi an
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assistant editor of foreign policy covering the german elections also in berlin very good to have you with us and we start off with you your four break it seems that in these elections angela merkel is unstoppable well it certainly seems from the ratings over the last couple of months that she has a very solid lead or by her rivals the social democrats she's currently polling around thirty eight percent the social democrats are sitting around twenty three percent this seems to be a lead that is solid it's ten days to go until until the election so i don't see that there's any possibility for this gap to close anymore as bethany allen ibrahimi unless something extraordinary happens i mean what we're looking at now forty two parties but really two realistic candidates right. that's right besides anglo-american in the c.d.u. there is martin schultz for the s.p.d. about six months ago it appeared that schultz actually had
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a really strong chance of giving a run for her money but in the last six months the espy's poll numbers have sunk and it seems that really has no chance of catching up to miracle is what do you think went wrong as far as schultz and his party is concerned with whether they go off track sure there's about two things the most important thing is that the s.p.d. has been in a governing coalition with the c.d.u. for the past several years so schultz really in a way is running as an incumbent but a less important incumbent so the s.p.d. hasn't really been able to come up with a separate platform and they haven't been able to articulate what they have to offer that's different than what america has already done so well so schultz for example in the debate last week with medical he wasn't really able to criticize her her platform or her policies in any kind of meaningful way so the s.p.d. doesn't have anything to offer voters additionally in the past six months they were
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very slow in coming up with any sort of platform at all so short has had very little to go on this it didn't seem to be anything to distinguishable did that mean issues between the two parties in that debate and i guess for many germans it's looking to the person that you know. absolutely i think one thing that certainly struck a tone in this debate is that german voters have increasingly become aware of what they perceive as an unstable neighborhood so whether you look at what's happening in russia in north africa in the middle east or what happened indeed with the u.s. with the election of donald trump and breck's that so although many european countries you know they were kind of right for revolution or change and everyone was sitting on the edge of their seats for example in france to see if look penn would take a lead over michael i do not think that is the feeling in germany they do not want to have a huge change they want to continue in what the hands of what they see as a very calm able and competent chancellor at
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a time when the world is increasingly in flux and i think that has certainly been an asset for merkel especially if you look at the the foreign policy angle of what these german actions means to the german voter york is the neighborhood partially to blame or to sank for her impending success if it were to play out that way but i certainly do think that the turbulence foreign policy scene. plays a role in these elections we have seen at various stages in the campaign issues like turkey in particular came up the united states and nato or so there certainly is a turbulence i was there that leads many germans to basically rely on the steady hounds and america is certainly credited by many here in germany with having navigated their very turbulent international scene for the last twelve years and populism has really taken out of their either has it. well there is an element of populism
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here if we look at the ratings then it is perfectly clear that it's a far right populist party the alternative for germany will make it into parliament currently polling around ten percent that would be a very strong result but indeed populism is less of an issue here in germany than it has been elsewhere this is a relatively small segments compared to many other countries that have seen much stronger movements of populism on the far left and the far right you mentioned turkey and i'm going to bring you in here nina schick i mean what sort of impact do you think turkey is likely to have on the elections we know that earlier one the leader has said that turks turkish germans who live there should not vote for angela merkel and a couple of other parties why would he do such
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a thing. well clearly it's a highly politicized issue and i think that what's going to continue to happen with merkel i think undoubtedly going to be winning the chancellorship for the fourth for her fourth term is that she will continue to work with difficult autocrats in the neighborhood as she has done with putin or she will continue to do without the one in turkey and one of the main reasons for this is of course to do with the migration crisis which was a huge huge issue in germany especially in two thousand and fifteen when angela merkel really had the biggest wobble of her chancellorship thus far she saw her ratings were do plummet and a lot of commentators particularly anglo-saxon commentators by the way were saying that this would be the demise of her career and now that has proven not to be the case and i'm glad merkel has gotten a hold of that situation again but this is a lot to do with these kind of deals that they're striking with the one in turkey and also of course increasingly trying to do under the remaining remits of the e.u. with north african african countries so whilst the rhetoric on one hand is going to
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continue to be contentious if you look at what's happening with the rule of law in turkey and germany and the e.u. will can always say that this does not fit in you know their ideal version of what turkey should be they will also they'll be a real politic understanding that those doors cannot be closed and even though everyone is difficult they will continue to have diplomatic dialogue with him betty what do you think anyone is up to when he made that call i think that he is trying to get what he can for turkey he says that miracle and schultz and you know and others are thinking of you know they want to suspend the e.u. accession talks with turkey they're pushing back against what everyone has done since the military the attempted military coup last year they've criticized his sweeping crackdown on human rights he doesn't want that you know he he wants to make the decisions for turkey himself he doesn't want turkey to come under pressure and he will do anything that he can to try to make that possible. you know look at
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all what i don't know if you know trying to sway to that involves trying to sway the votes of the approximately one million turkish germans and germany who have the right to vote in the german election and that's what he'll try to do that's the question your will they listen but the be inclined to listen because they was quite a surprising turn out in support of the referendum that he called i think it took a lot of the observers by surprise how many living in germany were all for that well i certainly think that there will be turks in this country that call the question is only who will suffer from that in the first place it will be the social democrats traditionally the social democrats are the party of the or original gusto by it of many of them came from turkey. so the damage will be primarily here on the side of the social democrats and less so on the part of the christian democrats read the proportion of the turkish vote is much
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smaller bits of the if they do listen it doesn't say much about how integration is going in germany there doesn't. i think it's possible there's different ideas about this so you know sixty three percent as they were saying of the. turkish and germany who are eligible to vote for the referendum in turkey sixty three percent voted yes some some experts have said that you know that indicates that turkish germans have not fully adopted democratic values they don't value you know limited government representative government there is saying no that that turkish germans have two separate identities you know they can vote democratically in germany and have support different policies in turkey but it's it's unclear exactly how they will vote on september twenty fourth but if they do it's p.d. certainly will take a hit they if they listen to the one minute i'm just wondering where this leaves and gillum merkel she's already said that they are no natural coalitions for her to
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choose from what do you think might sway what direction would she look. well given that i think we can safely assume and go on the assumption that i'm the america will win the election the next question is who will she go into coalition with of course we could have a continuing grand coalition with the s.p.d. but maybe she will go into coalition with the liberals that they of course didn't make the bundestag last time around because they didn't pass the five percent threshold or you could potentially have a coalition with the liberals and the greens a so-called jamaica coalition and i think that the s.p.d. might be hesitant to go into coalition with it to do again because one of the reasons they've diminished so much is precisely because voters cannot distinguish between the essential left as bt and the center because they have spent so many of the last ten years in coalition together so the top line is that i i think it's safe to say angela merkel will win second question is who will she go into
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coalition with and then finally what does that mean for germany's position these of you the e.u. and the rest of the world now i live in london obviously we are consumed by breck's it so there is this kind of hope here that after the election under america we're going to coalition with the liberal the liberals and after that have a far more kind of well be a benign kind of view towards bracks and that she will give the u.k. a better deal but i think we all know we'll all agree on this panel that that is certainly not going to be the case because germany will continue to protect its interests in the e.u. and i think the e.u. as an institution is fundamental to that as we've seen germany do before and we will come back to break so but you're going to just put that question to you i mean who do you think is closer to her in her landscape when it comes to forming a coalition and how much weakened will she be with the party is in play at the moment. well if you look at germany post war over several decades then you
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obviously see that the sort of default partner with a christian that recruits has for many years been the free democrats market liberal party now the problem here is that it's such a coalition in order to have a major or eighty will require a very strong performance of both parties at the moment in the ratings we don't see a major or it's a new for this coalition so over the next ten days both the christian democrats and the. democrats will have to outs a number of percentage points in order to form such a coalition but the major already in my opinion at the moment we're still looking at a most likely grand coalition the dynamics in terms of the political ratings of individual parties seem such that the fringes are getting stronger over the last couple of weeks both the far left and the far right as the mainstream parties are stagnant or
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even dropping including on the american conservatives they've been sliding slightly over the last couple of weeks it seems to me that the most likely coalition is still one of the christian democrats and the social democrats this is not a coalition that i think the christian democrats or the social democrats favor at this stage but it may still simply turn out that this is the only real option if the electoral outcome whether your action outcome is such that we end up with very strong fringes and the ricoh performance of all the mainstream parties and basically will the russians in these elections we know that well apparently they were behind hacking of the board to start the parliament and there's been concern that there's going to be a flurry of e-mails or something coming out and as yet nothing. right now the russians have been kind of eerily silent there hasn't been anything there's not been a great amount you know
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a big rush of you know fake news there haven't been any super high profile hackings you know dumps of documents which has people on edge you know many many are wondering what's what's going to happen in this in the last you know ten days or so before the election is are they waiting until the end if it's not clear you know the news outlets here have been very concerned about how to fight fake news. there's a lot of concern because america has stood so strong against putin you know she has really defended the e.u. and stood for that so if certainly if the russians would want to cause you know this the e.u. to crack up germany would be the place to approach apply pressure is of the not friends nina what do you think is happening as far as this issue is concerned well . well i think the russians have kind of attempted to do some hikes and so on as you said that there was that buddhist talk email but i think what they found is that it's not really working in germany as you correctly pointed out they're very
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concerned about fake news and it hasn't had the same kind of the factors that might have done in the united states and there's the other question if russia's policy or strategy is to denigrate support for the e.u. or perhaps take away from anglo-american support by pointing out problems of the refugee or migration crisis there is the fact that most of the other mainstream parties stand on the same side as michael with this so the only kind of insurgent group that they could support is the f.t. that's tentative of which started as an anti euro anti bailout policy group and now is a far right and immigrant group and even though they will likely make it into the bundestag their polling at about ten percent they still are to talk sic for the mainstream so any kind of agenda where you want to break down the e.u. or make refugee policy issue of the election it simply isn't going to work so no matter what russian hackers do. they are not going to have the same effect in
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germany as they do in the united states and i think that's going to become apparent . angela merkel has led germany for twelve years now but a rise to power took a lot longer than that merkel grew up in what was then communist east germany and graduated as a scientist before becoming a politician it was only in her mid thirty's that she became involved with the growing democracy movement in east germany before the war fall of the berlin wall she joined the christian democratic union and worked with chancellor helmut kohl until she replaced him as party leader seventeen years ago merkel became germany's first female chancellor in two thousand and five and has been leader ever since so we know quite a bit about her we know how she rules we know how she dealt with the euro crisis is that how she's going to deal with the e.u. going forward is that how she's going to deal with turkey and its ascension to the well yes i think we can expect
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a lot of continuity whatever the next government coalition will precisely look like i think there's more continuity than disruption i don't foresee any major or any radical shifts in the policies whether it is with the european union broadly reserve in turkey or the u.s. or russia or whatever the hot spots in the world and the talent us may be i think we will see a continued steady hand of the of the chancellor because that seems to have become her trademark or more to the point that seems to be her nature simply is better i mean since she came to power and you saw the relatively weak leadership in france she's certainly pushed france out of the way when it comes to leadership of the e.u. is she going to consolidate power more and is that a concern for the e.u. will do you think she will change direction. no i think that she'll
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still hold that direction she's been going you know as one parliamentarian was telling me this is not a change election for germany people are concerned about you know the the the wholeness of the e.u. the security you know with with with direct sitting with. the still strong far right in france what a lot of germans not all germans but what a lot of germans are looking for is strong stable leadership and miracle in the past has has has given that over and over and over again so i think of her looking at you know what she's going to continue to do if she is selected to be chancellor once again it is she will she will continue to do what she has been so good at which is you know to take opposition policies and co-opt them for herself to continue to give a strong hand for the e.u. and to make no sudden drastic changes that could destabilize the country or the e.u. in general and the you know will we see greater fiscal integration do you think i'm is that important now for the euro zone of course the that is of course the
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perennial question and we see angela merkel's counterpart from home pushing hard for more fiscal integration but the fundamental rules of the euro zone game do not change that is that germany is not does not want to become the e.u. to become a permanent transfer union and nor will it relinquish more money to the rest of the e.u. without more control so i think you might see some incremental steps and of course you've been hearing a lot of lip service being paid to this idea of a stronger euro zone that has more integration but the actual devil lies in the details and reaching that point will take a very long time and you're going to see the traditional role played by germany will continue to insist upon control for any more money and you'll see france pushing hard against this but i think paris and berlin and the united in saying you know they want to shore up the solidarity of the e.u. they want to ensure the integrity of the european project when it comes to the
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devil in the detail of your is an integration that's going to continue to be one that they're going to battle it out over yeah that's key isn't it your. yeah absolutely i think to some extent this will obviously depends also on the coalition that's what emerges from the election i think it will be easier for germany or it will be more likely for germany need to pursue a relatively hard line. on issues like euro zone integration if there is a coalition with the liberals with the freedom of crowds because they have already voiced some very clear positions on exactly that issue. on the other hand if there is a grand coalition then there may be a softer line when it comes to euro zone integration and so here again i think this is an issue that's interesting enough it's also not not really being discussed the eurozone the european union broadly are basically absent from this from this debate
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and i think we will see a heated debate only after election day and when it comes to forming a coalition because the colors of the coalition will determine quite some of the course that germany is going to it's going to take on these european issues basically how do you think that's going to play out and how important considering all the issues and elements that we've discussed are these elections at at this time now for germany and particularly the e.u. . i think it comes at a really key time you know it's interesting that by a matter of chance really that these elections have fallen about a year less than a year after the major populist upsets in the united states and breck's and that's given germans quite a number of months to consider the future of the west there's been a lot of you know hand-wringing from america to britain you know to germany about you know we'll we'll we will either stay stable you know we'll we'll even you know
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the liberal western world order hold and i think a lot of germans you know it's the trunk the fact look at what's happened in the united states and what's happened in britain germans have a sense that that we have to keep things stable we have to keep things strong that's why for many germans this is not a change election even though german politics seems boring even though it can it seems a bit stagnant it's not perfect but people know that right now this is a critical time for germany it's a critical time for leadership in the e.u. and it's a critical critical time for leadership of democracy in the world sermons understand that so these elections are really important fortunately it seems like things are going going in a predictable and a study direction and you know will we'll watch and see on september twenty fourth as you say we shall watch and see bethany alan ibraheem in thank you very much york and nina schick as well thank you and as always those who watch or you can see the program again any time you can visit our website al-jazeera dot com if you want to
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documentaries that open your eyes at this time on al-jazeera we've now reached one hundred days since qatar was placed on the block eight hundred days of diplomatic social and economic adversity and as the crisis continues we're looking at the battles to influence opinion both on and offline share your views with the hash tag from the heart of the story here in doha the gulf crisis special on news grid. hello again adrian finnegan here in doha the top stories this hour. suci has decided against attending this year's u.n. general assembly meeting she's been widely criticized since the violence against muslim or a hinge in rakhine state escalated late last month since then more than three hundred seventy thousand people have crossed into bangladesh to escape the conflict
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