As long as Angela Merkel remains chancellor, most Germans seem to be in no rush to find a coalition. This is why the coalition negotiations have been going on for weeks (and may only conclude when this journal goes to print). Nevertheless, the elections have shaken up the German political landscape: the Liberals (FDP) are out of the Bundestag for the first time since 1949 and the euro-sceptical Alternative for Germany (AfD) is in. With the Left Party still outside of the 'consensus spectrum', the Conservatives (CDU), Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens are the only parties eligible for government in either a grand coalition (CDU/SPD) or a Black-Green coalition (CDU/ Greens). But the SPD's reluctance to enter into a grand coalition a second time, after the disastrous results for the party in 2005-09, led many to hope for an innovative progressive-conservative U-turn in Germany, meaning a Black-Green coalition. Indeed, for a moment it seemed like the CDU and the Greens would dare the impossible after what had been called a "fruitful and harmonious exploration". But in the end, it is going to be a grand coalition again, with the likely effect for Europe that austerity will be softened a bit - but in essence, German European policy will remain as it is, slow and reluctant.
Keywords: Germany, elections, coalition, austerity