Germany’s Scholz Takes Power After Merkel’s 16-Year Rule
On Wednesday, Germany’s Parliament elected Olaf Scholz as chancellor. This marks the end of Angela Merkel’s 16-year rule. Scholz, the country’s new center-left leader, will face challenges left by his predecessor such as international criticism of the country’s close energy partnership with Russia. Scholz will battle a series of short-term crises that threaten to complicate his plans to modernize the German state. The controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline that directly connects the US and Russia is expected to come online this month amid tensions with Ukraine.
Furthermore, President Biden has warned Vladimir Putin that the US and its allies would counter an invasion of Ukraine with strong economic penalties. On the other hand, a bipartisan group of US legislators is looking to condemn the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with a series of sanctions against it. A standoff in Ukraine would throw Scholz’s administration into crisis within days of coming into office. It would also pressure the country to at least halt the pipeline project, which is seen as a strategic asset designed to secure energy imports. Although the pipeline has been built, it is awaiting certification in Germany before it can come online.