Congratulations to Merkel’s Successor Pour In
The election of Olaf Scholz as German Chancellor has sparked both positive and critical reactions from European leaders. “We are writing the next chapter together. For the French, the Germans and the Europeans,” French President Macron said on Twitter.
On Wednesday, the German parliament elected Social Democrat Scholz as the successor to Chancellor Merkel, who is stepping down as head of government after 16 years. Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte spoke on Twitter about the end of an era. He said he wished Scholz the best of luck and looked forward to “working together as good neighbours in Europe”.
Ursula von der Leyen, head of the EU’s executive board, also congratulated her compatriot. The EU top woman, who herself was a minister under her party colleague Merkel, wished Scholz a good start as Chancellor. She hoped we could work together for a “strong Europe”.
Russian President Vladimir Putin said through a spokesman that he hopes for a “constructive relationship” with Scholz. The spokesman said there is “no alternative to dialogue” to resolve the biggest disagreements.
Not all European leaders react with the same enthusiasm. Hungarian nationalist Viktor Orbán said in the Bild newspaper that with the new left-liberal government, Germany is moving even further away from “the Europe of the Fatherlands of Kohl” through a policy that, in his view, includes “pro-immigration” and is “gender-neutral”. “We are not standing side by side in this.”