tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV September 23, 2016 7:00am-7:31am PDT
♪ peter: hello, and a very warm welcome indeed to "quadriga," in the heart of berlin. it has been a turbulent week in germanan politics, during which the focus has been very much on angela merkel. she is often viewed as the most powerful woman in the world, but in a speech in the german capital, they usually highly -- the usually highly composed chancellor merkel revealed a surprising amount of emotion, including a rare expression of regret over aspects of her controversial refugee policy. it's all followed another election setback for her conservative cdu policy, the fifth in a row. it came in a regional paul poll -- poll for the berlin city parliament, when the conservatives have now less than a 20% share of the vote.
our question on "quadriga," this week is, how would it is angela -- how wounded is angela merkel? to discuss that question, i am joined in the studio by three seasoned observers of german politics. beginning with derek scally of the "irish times," who says, "merkel is unchallenged for now, but she could be wounded if the spd, the left party, and the greens all joined forces in a bid to oust her." also with us is alan posener, a regular columnist with the berlin daily "die welt." alan says, "nobody is challenging merkel's leadership. nobody wants her job. so why should she worry?" and to get a french perspective on things, we are joined also by journalist and author pascale hugues, who comments, "welcome to the club. angela merkel is getting a rival on her right, just like all the other leaders in europe." thank you all for those interesting comments. i would like to begin with derek scally. let's talk about this election defeat for angela merkel right here in berlin just a few days ago. it is variously being described
as humbling, humiliating, disastrous. merkel herself calls it bitter. how bitter? derek: i think as a general rule for anyone watching, there is a rule of thumb for state elections in germany. there are 16 federal states. if you win in one of the federal states, you go on television at 6:00 in the evening and say, this is a signal for the federal political level, the level at which merkel is playing, and if you lose, as merkel's team do, they say, this is obviously not a single for a wider political trend. the migration crisis is one of these things that works all levels of german politics. the federal level, local level, and i think that is why merkel was looking so chastened this week. this is a chastened chancellor. this is a woman who doesn't always ever really admit anything. this woman doesn't have feet of clay, she just sort of hovers over german politics. for her to come out like that was quite striking, but i think the closer you look, the more you picked apart what she actually said, she was saying that yes, this migration crisis
got a little out of hand and we could have prepared, but it sounded a bit like a papal apology. if you feel something went wrong, then i'm sorry, but i'm actually -- i would continue to do what i did a year ago, and i'm going to continue doing it. what she actually said, whether or not you heard what you wanted to hear. she is slightly damaged, but she is still 50% or just under with political support, and she has been in power for 11 years. the question is whether journalists start to get tired of her face on the cover of "spiegel magazine" and keep hammmmering away at her, andnd whether that creates a mood among the public that somehow this woman is used up. and we could be at that moment, but she has bounced back before. peter: interesting, i noticed in one of your articles this week, you were talking about what you called the "merkel must go" mood in germany slowly accruing, being perceptible. is that how you see it, pascale? the "merkel must go" mood? pascale: i think you have to be very cautious.
a right-wing had party that suddenly shuffled the political game.whether they are going to get into parliament whether they have to -- areical stuff they good enough position, but good enough to take responsibility? -- open. at the moment, i would see angela merkel as unchallenged. there's really no alternative on the left, no alternative within her party. the germans are not very daring. there's always a lot of excitement before, but when they go to a very imporortant electi, and the spirits come down, it is very possible that if she wants to be reelected, that she could save her skin and be
elected again. i think we have to wait. peter: angela merkel chastened, angela merkel unchallenged. what would you say for that one? alan: has to look for an adjective now. the first thing is, berlin was not a surprise. the asd got basically what they predicted. angela merkel's party getting less than 20% of the vote. but theyt a minute, had weak leadership. they have had that for a long time. they did not get credit for what they did. this cdu did very well within the constraints. is, this is all about , the alternatives getting this new xenophobia, right wing populist party getting 14% of the party, but
that was expected. they are going to get something like that in thehe general election in 2017. merkel knows it, her party knows it, but everyone knows it. peter: but there is a sense that lost hers nevertheless winning touch. five setbacks in a row. these are state elections. the point is on the state level, theleft-wing opponents, democrats and the left party, with the greens, can form government. on the federal level, that is impossible. democrats cannot and will not go with the greens. the only reason merkel's chancellor because the left party exists. as long as the left party is there in parliament, she will be chancellor, unless they're someone within her own party who says go. pascale: derek: but this
is one of the bizarre things, merkel has been in power since 2005, and there has been centerleft about her. this week, this is one of these things, why can the left and merkel get it together? after this election, they were sort of smoke sizzles -- signals and flirtations with the left. for the first time when i was talking to people, there was a sign that it was worth talking about. we have not had that before. in 2013, the social democrats said, we are kind of screwed, so we might as well considering. now they are considering it even more. it may come to nothing, but for the first time, merkel has the majority again. complication is the greens. they have worked for the social democrats, but merkel might like them into the government. the greens party might be the
key to this after less -- centerleft alliance that has never gotten back behind merkel until now. peter: you are nodding. thinking of just the image that merkel has. this is all human politics. policy.ant domestic policy. the economy is sliding, the unemployment is very low. the whole spirit of the germans -- french compared to germany, it is so different. we are in a real crisis, and the crisis in france appears every 10 minutes. germany is doing very well, and i think the german people know that. not only due to merkel, but the reforms of others. we europeans, there's a lot of admiration and france, for example for angela merkel. peter: my sense has been that
the mood of admiration that has been so palpable, has turned a little bit more towards exasperation with the chancellor. pascale: sometimes yes, but on the whole, no. you like europe to have a stable, low-key, calm germany. whats not perfect, but would we get if she wasn't there anymore? the sense i have i is trust and gratefulness for a leader like that in these very bumpy times. all these elements will play a role that fear as well, and actually play for her. peter: let's move on a little bit. i would like to go back to the address the much talked about that angela merkel gave in berlin,, during which she referred to what has been her mantra throughout the refugee crisis. it,words -- we can do referring to the refugee crisis, and the challenges it poses.
let's listen to what she had to say. merkel: some say it is provocative. that was not my intent. i wanted to motivate people and be decisive and complementary. 7 merkel admits she has made mistakes. the past fewover years, we have not done things we could have. we have to do o a better job of integration. >> she expressed real emotion. >> if i could, i would turn the clock back many years, said that i could do a better job of working with the authorities to prepare for the situation. the events of late last summer caught us rather unprepared. and promised to do better. >> we must optimize our efforts in the situation, and that includes me. >> the chancellor needs to rebuild trust with the voters, but can she do it? derek, real emotion.
derek: yes, this is what we are dealing with every day as german correspondence, what passes for real emotion in german politics, but it works for german voters. she is not that person in private. this is the merkel that she automaton that she sends out. it has won elections, but will it win a fourth time? that is the issue. i think nobody in her party will challenge her. i'm quite amused that the whole party, even her own party, say they are getting tired of her, but you asask when or why they are not challenging her, they have one year until the election. if you want to challenge, now is the time. nobody has come out. it speaks volumes that the fresh , hehope for german politics
has done much for europe, but he's going to be 75 next year. i think the party is not going to challenge her at the moment, and the question is whether or not they believe voters will go behind her. they will talk more about that and a moment. felt then media, they emotion this week. they were saying it is real emotion, not a show of political theater. it is from the heart. alan: did they really? peter: that was my feeling. read whate you just you want to. i don't think anyone believes angela merkel has any real emotions. that's not her thing. she said i would like to turn back the clock, but who wouldn't? peter: we are being very unkind to her. we are think she is an automaton.
alan: but what she said was, i would turn back the clock to last autumn, and to what she was responsible for. greece was the main destination for refugees. greece could not cope anymore. when greece was being trampled on by germany, they opened the floodgates. that's what happened. and it is her fault. no one is saying that in germany, but they should say it more. this is going to be held up p in her face all over europe. people in italy saying, we are sick of austerity. we need to do something. she is facing not so silent result in europe, and that result, however, will probably strengthen her hand at home, because the germans hate paying for the italians and the greeks and the spanish. is seen as the rock
of financial austerity, and i think she has big chances in germany. one phrase in, the address angela merkel gave here in berlin caught my eye. it was this one, she said "we are living in a post-fact world where people are not necessarily interested in facts, they are just following their feelings." what is that about? alan: pascale: she is a scientist and she is following the facts. you are saying she is not emotional, but we don't know that. i think that is the arrogance of journalists. what it shows is she is not prophetic. i come from a country where this.cians are full of i find it soothing to live in a country where it is not so glamorous. it is true as well. when you look at the program of the ifd, why do people vote for
that? do they really agree with the program, are they ideologically convinced? peter: we are talking about the far right populist party. pascale: the new populist party which germany never had, and now they have one like all the rest of us. peter: you said welcome to the club at the top of the show. [laughter] 14% here, 20% there. it is quite a big result. but do these people vote for the convinceduse they are that this program is the right way or is it just to protest, emotion? i thought that is what she wanted to say. derek: you could also call it truthiness. like what, doing the iraq war, they must have weapons of mass destruction.
we s see with donald trump, he does that asas well, that must e true, don't come to me with facts. it shows that you can get 20% by pushing the emotionanal bututto, thatat merkel said is not worth going near, because germans are not emotional voters. but they get 20%, and they shatter the arithmetic. merkel is there and she has a party that needs a coalition party or perhahaps to -- two. that is the issue. i have been surprised that merkel basically sends out a version of herself, which is unemotional, that does not offer take those. that has -- does not offer pathos. that has worked for 11 years. but if you are the afd and push the button, that is new. peter: people are curious about angela merkel, they see the mask. they know she is hyperactive --
rational, a pragmatist, and a trained scientist. she has done that for 11 years. i want you to speculate, what goes on behind the mask? she has been humiliated recently. she was human related by her allies, and the election, she has been left isolated. that hurts, i guess. alan: i don't think so. derek: i always imagine behind her face there is a political abacus, and the beads are going back-and-forth. she'sou ask questions, constantly calculating. i think the question for her, it was mentioned several times, until now she has sent herself out to be reelected. her party just comes along for the ride. she has been so strong, that it was called asymmetric demobilization. everyone elsewhere so disappointed, they were so convinced she was going to win, they just stayed at home. whether that will work a third time, the notion that merkel is intoorse pulling them back
power, whether that will work again or come up with a new trick, t that will be interesti. maybe the new trick will be she will have to show it been more emotion, show a few more family photos. it was very hard for her to turn the car around at this stage, but maybe she will have to do something new like that to counter the emotion in post factual politics. peter: mr. pozen or has something he wants to get off his chest. alan: she has been there before. after she lost the election in 2005, it was in her grasp. there she was, flanked, making her speech, by the party grandes. chancellorhat then defeated her, abused her on tv, him in therty left coalition. she went on to get even with any one of the party grandes who flanked her. she will get even with all of
them. she is not this cold, calculating, physicist. he is someone who gets even. but there are no grandes anymore. she has taken care of everyone. only one left is her, because she is the party. peter: i would like to cut in right there. we already heard, there is no alternative. but is that true? within the party, without the party, let's find out. let's listen to set -- the other names mentioned. csu, the leader has been making noises about running for chancellor, but if merkel agrees to his proposal on annual limits for refugees, he will probably stay where he is. wolfgang, the finance minister, he has gone -- dodone a good job with b budget and is respected. but voters think he is stuffy.
besides, he's already 74 years old. the leader of the social democratic party and d deputyy chanancellor, pug nation and -- pug nation sent thick-skinned. he may have a chance. ministerense conspicuous, by her absence in the currenent political crisis, but she has always had her eye on the top spot, and that has alienated some of her party colleagues. which of these candidates has the best chance? it is amazing how cynical these folks are. [laughter] there was a quartet of names, are either of them going to be the next german chancellor? pascale: i don't think so. the first two of them, they are actually too old. in the mid-70's, that is really -- those are the ones in the
running. von der leyen,hen we don't hear anything. peter: she's very similar to angela merkel, people say. you were speculating, about who might read the next german chancellor. i can remember whether they had the same names. merkel thought she was irreplaceable, but then she was gone. nobody ever saw john major coming. i have been looking around german politics, trying to figure out. the interior minister, he has been responsible at the fefederl level. that might speak against him. on the positive side, he has elbowed her a little more than other politicians.
that could be the man, just for a year or two to keep the party going. there is no real great white hope, so to speak. peter: that sounds a bit paltry. germany, like prosperous as it is, it doesn't have anybody who can step into the breach? alan: no. ursulat person we saw, is a great political talent, but she's already a victim of merkel. merkel gave her the job of defense minister. you don't go from defense minister to chancellor. you do that through a terrible scandal and then into oblivion. she's done for. i think the minister of the interior, the sort of stepped in, that might be. but the christian democrats need merkel to win precisely because they don't have anyone,.
by the way, wolfgang is hated by all women in germany -- ursula is hated by all women in germany, because she is so great, she looks great, she has an incredibly rich husband, she is incredibly successful. pascale: that is such a male chauvinist statement. [laughter] alan: i like her. but i think the women do not. [laughter] no alternative to angela merkel at this point in time, maybe. maybe someone will come out of the ranks, we don't know. is there an alternative to europe?erkel in even when she goes, there will be a vacuum. we had an election in may. i think europe will be blocked. monday's initiative, 80 usually
comes from france and germany. we have to wait to see. character in europe and very much respected, and also hateted for her liberal policie. peter: she is being shunned, especially by eastern europeans. they are giving her a very hard time. derek: lots of leaders in europe have always been opposed to angela merkel, but they could never get it together to form a posse and take her out, and humiliate her. people, like the group around poland and the czech republic, but we almost the in europe or you see in germany. lots of people want to take her down, but they can't get it together. think it is better the devil you know. peter: half a minute. alan: i think with breaking out, the point is that angela merkel is alone against the mediterranean states.
against france, spain and italy, who all want the introduction the european union, rightly so. if the referendum is won in january of next year,, he is the man to watch in europe. peter: i begin to hear the music. that is the end of the show. how wounded is angela merkel? alan: she's ok. pascale: she's tough. peter: no problem there, no worries apparently. derek: she's got nine lives, i think she is on six or seven. peter: what we have learned is that this merkel era will continue, or should i say, drag on. thank you for joining us. us throughh with social media or the internet. until next week, goodbye. ♪
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