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Yearbook 2017

2017 GermanyGermany. According to, Angela Merkel had a tough year. Only by a slight margin did it look as if the Chancellor could form a government after the September elections. Long into December, the government negotiations were ongoing. Merkel's Christian Democratic Party CDU/CSU declined sharply but still became the largest party with 33.0% of the vote. That is –8.5 compared to the election in 2012. For Martin Schulz, who in March became Social Democratic SPD party leader, things did not go much better. SPD received 20.5% (–5.2). Things went better for right-wing populist and xenophobic Alternatives for Germany (AfD), which now entered the Bundestag by a wide margin, 12.6% (+7.9). The Liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP) also advanced strongly, reaching 10.7% (+5.9). Left Party and Environment Party The Greens both increased marginally, ending at 9.2 and 8.9%, respectively. The turnout was not very high: 76.1%. Despite the success of the AfD, one of the foreground figures in the party, Frauke Petri, chose to leave the party in September, a day after the election, which she thought had moved too far to the right. After the election, 75-year-old Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble also announced that he would step down. In October, he was named President of the Bundestag.

2017 Germany

It was not easy for Angela Merkel to form a government. The Social Democratic SPD initially chose to go into opposition, and the AfD was not a conceivable partner for Merkel's CDU/CSU. In early October, government negotiations began with liberal FDP and the Greens. This possible government cooperation was nicknamed the Jamaica Coalition because the party colors were the same as on the flag of the island nation. However, the negotiations broke down in mid-November, after the Greens realized that the political differences were too great. Only in December did SPD and Martin Schulz open the door for cooperation. But by the end of the year, nothing was clear. However, for Merkel there are other alternatives: minority government or new elections.

It was intended that the SPD would get a fresh start with the newly elected Martin Schulz, but that was not the case. At the Saarland state elections in March, the SPD received 30% of the vote while Merkel's CDU received 41%; in Schleswig-Holstein in May, it was 26% for the SPD and 33% for the CDU; a week later in North Rhine-Westphalia, the SPD dropped substantially, from 39.1 to 30.5%, while the CDU advanced strongly, from 26.3 to 34.5%. The Schulz effects did not occur.

The German car industry suffered a great deal during the year. In the wake of the "Dieselgate", Volkswagen was forced to pay the equivalent of almost SEK 40 billion in damages to the United States. The entire festival with the exhaust cheat will cost Volkswagen the equivalent of SEK 190 billion. It was in September 2015 that it was revealed that several German car manufacturers had manipulated emission data during their exhaust tests. Faced with a threat of a total ban on diesel cars from 2030, the German car manufacturers in early August agreed to update the software in 5.3 million cars. This would reduce nitric oxide emissions by up to 30%. In July, it was revealed that German car giants such as Audi, BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen have worked together in a cartel for 20 years to have a common technology for exhaust gas purification in the cars. If companies are dropped for cartel formation, the EU could theoretically distribute a fine of 10% of revenues, which would mean a total fine amounting to a breathtaking equivalent of SEK 500 billion. In October, representatives of the European Commission showed up at BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen, among others, to secure evidence of this cartel formation.

Last year, 280,000 asylum seekers came to Germany. This is a substantial reduction from the 890,000 who came to the country in 2015. To speed up the expulsions of those without asylum reasons (in 2016 80,000 were rejected), asylum legislation was tightened in May. Among other things, it should be easier to lock in, or provide footwear, people who are considered a security risk. The German Migration Agency (Bamf) was now also given a legal opportunity to search computers and mobile phones of persons without passports or ID documents. Due to the increased turmoil in Afghanistan, Germany in June suspended the return of Afghans who had been deported. It was now decided to carry out only "voluntary home broadcasts and deportations of violent extremists and criminals in individual cases".

Relations with Turkey were not the best. In January, some 40 high-ranking Turkish military sought asylum. The militants, who worked at a German NATO facility, feared being imprisoned in their home country after the failed coup attempt in July 2016. At a survey in early May, it turned out that over 400 Turkish military, diplomats and officials had sought asylum in Germany after coup.

In June, Germany withdrew its military forces from an air base near Syria in southern Turkey. This is due to the deteriorating relations between countries. Among other things, several German MPs had been stopped from visiting the base - in response to the large number of Turks receiving asylum in Germany. The 300 soldiers were moved to an air base in Jordan. Relations may have mainly deteriorated in connection with the Turkish electoral movement abroad prior to the referendum on the constitutional amendments when, of course, Germany would also be visited. In February, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım visited Germany to vote, but after the Turkish Minister of Justice Bekir Bozdağ was stopped from voting in early March, Germany decided that Turkey should not hold any elections in the country.

In late January, Chancellor Merkel visited Sweden. Among other things, with Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, issues were discussed about refugees and "harmonized legislation" within the EU. The two countries also decided to enter into a partnership for innovative social solutions. Merkel's visit to US President Donald Trump in March became a rather frosty event between free-trade-Merkel and isolationist-Trump - at a photo shoot at the White House, Trump did not want to take Merkel in hand.

In April, the Bundestag voted yes to a proposal for a ban on comprehensive veil for some civil servants, including in the military and the judiciary. On June 30, the Bundestag voted yes to the legalization of same-sex marriage - 393 for and 226 against. Chancellor Merkel was one of those who voted against the proposal.

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