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Germany Is Still Playing Defense

The Christian Democratic Union's selection of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer as its next leader means that Chancellor Angela Merkel is still very much in charge of Germany. That means three more years of cautious restraint in the face of challenges that demand bold action.

BERLIN – An old joke among non-Americans is that they, too, deserve a vote in US presidential elections, given how central that office is to their lives. When Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) met this month to select a new leader, Europeans probably felt the same way.

Not only is the CDU Germany’s largest party; it is also the largest in the European Union. At its recent congress in Hamburg, the word “Europe” was uttered constantly, with most speakers declaring a sense of responsibility for what happens across the EU.

The election of Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to succeed German Chancellor Angela Merkel as party leader reflects this sentiment, as it amounts to a bid for continuity. As a Merkel loyalist, Kramp-Karrenbauer is not likely to push the chancellor out before her term ends in 2021.

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