Merkel’s conservatives warn of Trump effect in Germany

German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble and other conservatives warned on Thursday that populists would pose a problem for Europe unless mainstream politicians responded after Donald Trump’s victory in the U.S. presidential election. Trump’s win has shaken many European lawmakers ahead of elections next year, including in France and Germany, where right-wing parties are expected to notch up big gains. “Demagogic populism is not only a problem in America,” Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told Bild daily. “Elsewhere in the West, too, the political debate is in an alarming state.”

If there are no answers provided by the main parties in our country, they will turn to populists.

Hans-Peter Friedrich, German politician

Chancellor Angela Merkel is widely expected to stand for a fourth term in an election in September and her conservatives are roughly 10 points ahead of their nearest rivals, the Social Democrats who currently share power with her. However, her open-door migrant policy has angered voters. The right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD), which has embraced tough anti-immigrant rhetoric, is swaying supporters from the bigger parties. Founded less than four years ago, it now has seats in more than half of Germany’s state assemblies. Schaeuble said politicians had to respond by being more inclusive. His words were echoed by Hans-Peter Friedrich, of Bavaria’s CSU - sister party to Merkel’s CDU - who said he feared that there could be a Trump effect in Germany. He said people feel they have no control over things, including European Central Bank policy and immigration, he said.