Publié le 17/09/2021

Paul MAURICE, quoted by Nikolaus J. Kurmayer in EURACTIV. 

Angela Merkel has governed Germany for 16 years and proven a reliable ally both in Europe and for the world. Will her party colleague hoping to succeed her follow in her footsteps or diverge from her path in order to forge his own legacy?

In his parliamentary debut in 1994 Laschet ran for the conservative party CDU under the slogan “listen, decide, act” on a family policy platform, laying the foundation of the measured and progressive persona he continues to cultivate.

Unlike Merkel, Laschet is West German. He stems from Aachen, on the border of Belgium and the Netherlands, which he invokes to explain his pro-European politics.

He last lauded the 2019 Franco-German Aachen convention in an op-ed for Handelsblatt on 8 September. The Aachen convention aims to have Franco-German ministers coordinate “together for Europe” ahead of EU meetings.


The French connection

Unlike Merkel and his social democrat rival Olaf Scholz, Laschet speaks fluent French. 

Nonetheless, their emphasis on good relations with France is arguably the biggest commonality Laschet and Scholz share. While Laschet is the current German-French cultural representative, Scholz held the post from 2015 to 2018. 

Both frontrunners in the race to replace Merkel have repeatedly emphasised their good relations with France and President Emmanuel Macron.

  • Like Kohl, Laschet is a conservative who considers Franco-German cooperation essential,” Paul Maurice, expert at the French international relations think-tank IFRI, told Le Point.



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