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Europa nach Merkel

PRINCETON – Nächstes Jahr finden in Deutschland bundesweite Wahlen statt, und der neue Bundestag wird den nächsten Kanzler des Landes wählen. Ob dies nun weiterhin Angela Merkel sein wird oder nicht: Im Moment sehen die Dinge für sie und für ihre Christlich Demokratische Union (CDU) nicht gut aus. Eins ist sicher: Deutschlands Kanzler wird nicht länger de-facto-Kanzler von Europa sein. Dadurch wird sich die Arbeitsweise Europas grundlegend verändern – und dies teilweise zum Besseren. Aber der zu erwartende Umbruch könnte unangenehm werden.

Dass eine deutsche Kanzlerin innerhalb der Europäischen Union so viel Macht ausüben würde, war nicht vorprogrammiert. Eingeleitet wurde diese Entwicklung vom ehemaligen Kanzler Helmut Kohl. Nach seiner führenden Rolle bei der deutschen Wiedervereinigung 1989-1990 begann er mit dem, was er als seine historische Aufgabe ansah, nämlich die Vereinigung von ganz Europa. Vom Vertrag von Maastricht im Jahr 1991 bis hin zu wichtigen Entscheidungen über die Gestaltung des Euro im Jahr 1998 spielte Kohl in Europa eine führende Rolle.

Die Idee einer gemeinsamen europäischen Währung hätte während dieser Jahre mehrfach zum Erliegen kommen können. Kohls enger Verbündeter Wolfgang Schäuble, der heute deutscher Finanzminister ist, war 1994 der Ansicht, dass nur fünf Länder – darunter nicht Italien – in der Lage seien, die Einheitswährung einzuführen. Aber Kohl setzte sich durch und bestand darauf, Italien dabei zu haben.

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