Great Britain

Merkel's successor to continue as EU's chief 'paymaster' as Brussels power vacuum develops

Macron's approach to Merkel successor discussed by expert

German MEP Gunnar Beck said Armin Laschet, the new leader of Germany’s CDU, will struggle to wield the same sway in Brussels. Mr Laschet, who is now in line to succeed Mrs Merkel as chancellor after the parliamentary elections in September, pipped conservative rival Friedrich Merz to the leadership of their party last weekend. But Mr Beck claimed the new CDU chief would be extorted for Germany’s vast wealth by fellow EU leaders looking to cash in.

He told Express.co.uk: “Laschet won’t have the kind of status Germany has enjoyed for many years now. He can grow into this, that’s possible, but it takes some time.

“Merkel’s role has been that of an honest broker… a kind of paymaster broker. Most of the deals she struck, were struck by paying up.

“Laschet, I suspect, will do exactly the same. He’ll be a paymaster in order to try and attain a certain degree of influence.”

Mr Beck, a member of the anti-establishment Alternative for Germany party, said Friedrich Merz would have “demanded more in return for his money” in negotiations with the EU compared to his rival.

Armin Laschet and Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel's CDU successor will continue as EU's chief paymaster (Image: GETTY)

Armin Laschet

Armin Laschet is the CDU of Germany's new leader (Image: GETTY)

He added: “Laschet isn’t going to be like that, he’ll just pay – and that’s bad for Germany.”

Mrs Merkel was well known for using Germany’s position as the EU’s top economy, and highest contributor to the bloc’s budget, to stave off a series of crises.

Most recently, she agreed to splash out to guarantee the €750 billion coronavirus recovery fund for the hardest-hit regions and industries by the pandemic.

Friedrich Merz

Armin Laschet pipped conservative rival Friedrich Merz to the leadership of their party (Image: GETTY)

As the EU’s largest economy, Berlin is the biggest contributor to both the bloc’s budget and Covid bailout.

And this could increase further with Mr Laschet said to be even more ambitious when it comes to the European project than Mrs Merkel.

He once criticised the Chancellor’s government for not being ambitious enough in regards to the EU.

MUST READ: France and Germany to lead attempt to punish UK for Brexit

Angela Merkel

Angela Merkel's influence in Brussels is about to disappear (Image: GETTY)

“Today the French President Emmanuel Macron is making proposals, but we are taking too long to respond,” Mr Laschet told the Munich Security Conference last year.

But there are concerns over Mr Laschet’s moves to previously defend Russian president Vladimir Putin and the Assad regime in Syria.

Omis Nouripour, a Green MP, said he had received numerous complaints about Mr Laschet’s opinions.

DON'T MISS
Germany economy crisis: Merkel warned strict new rules risk setback [INSIGHT]
Merkel successor Laschet on collision course with Biden over China [ANALYSIS]
Angela Merkel replaced by 'Putin sympathiser' [REVEALED]

Angela Merkel outlines plans for European Health Union

He said: “It’s bad enough that he has these views as governor of one of Germany’s federal states, but if he continues to espouse them as leader of the CDU then it’s a security risk for Germany, and Europe.”

Members of the CDU have also warned that Mr Laschet faces an uphill battle to unite the party he has just inherited leadership to,

Katja Leikert, deputy leader of the CDU parliamentary group, told the FT: “The rift in the party is deep and Laschet will have his work cut out to win over Merz’s supporters.”

Football news:

Guardiola on the end of the series: Sometimes you need to lose to understand how difficult it is to win 21 times in a row
Manchester United surprised by the pressure. They also stopped Gundogan (sacrificing the density in the support area), but KDB could bring City back into the game
Real Madrid director Butragueno on Atletico player's hand: It's a penalty. We were again unlucky with referee Hernandez
Mourinho on Tottenham's 100 goals of the season: Not bad for a defensive and poor team
Coman has rejected Bayern's offer of a new contract until 2026
Holand's transfer is a priority for Real Madrid. The deal could cost 270 million euros (As)
Atletico controlled the first half of the derby thanks to Simeone's bold plan. Then the game opened up, and Casemiro's spurts saved Real Madrid