‘Eastern Europe is learning to play its own game inside the EU’

Interview by Justinas Šuliokas, Lietuvos radijas ir televizija / LRT, September 5, 2021.

With the general elections due in Germany next month, observers are talking about the end of the ‘Merkel era’. What has characterised this era and will things change once Angela Merkel is gone?

WS: I think this era was one in which policy became more event-oriented and less strategic than ever before. Her particular skill was to leave aside any long-term ideological and strategic orientations and respond to the challenges of the moment.

If you have a traditional idea of politics, then you call this opportunistic. If you subscribe to a postmodern view of politics, then you call it a particular kind of responsiveness. Namely, to the moods of the voters and the needs for the next coalition that you want to form: moving between the Social Democrats and the Liberals, with an eye to the Greens that you want to co-opt into the government. (…)

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