Greek public opinion has always been sensitive to political events, even to under-currents of political change abroad. The antics of American politics, long ago before the Trump – Clinton saga; the build-up of the Brexit movement in the U.K.; the twists and turns of the French presidential and parliamentary elections that gave birth to the “Macron phenomenon”- all have been closely watched. Public debate in Greece has always integrated elements of political change abroad. The names of foreign leaders and their positions are ever-present in the Greek media.
So, it is a matter of some surprise that changes brewing in Germany – the country, the political system and the economy closer entwined with Greek reality in the latest stretch of time – are less well known in Greece. Indeed, other than the names of Angela Merkel or of Wolfgang Schaeuble (the man Greeks have learn to love to hate), or at best of Martin Schutz (the left-leaning Socialist, who embodied hopes for a gentler German stance towards Greece – but failed to deliver in his own game), Greeks find it difficult to recall other German leaders. Christian Lindner of the FDP, who may well join in forming a Coalition Government in Berlin, or Cem Ozdemir of the Greens are almost unknown –while the finer aspects of the balancing act now to be played out after the German election are largely missed in Greece.
So, now that the German voters punished both participants to the last Coalition Government cutting almost 9% off Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU and pushing the SPD to an all-time low, forcing all along a less-than-operational potential coalition to the surface – the so-called “Jamaica” format of CDU/CSU/FDP/Greens – Greek public opinion has a lot of learning to do.