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Five things President Trump could mean for Germany

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Five things President Trump could mean for Germany
Photo: EPA.
17:29 CET+01:00
Donald Trump's election as the next US president shocked many in Germany, and on Wednesday people across the world woke up wondering what may happen next. With that in mind, The Local looks at five things a Trump presidency could mean for Germany.

1. Foreign policy concerns

While Merkel extended an olive branch to Trump on Wednesday, saying she would offer him “close cooperation”, after Trump had previously accused her of "ruining Germany."
 
But her top diplomat seemed more pessimistic. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that foreign relations would become “more difficult” with Trump.
 
Leading foreign policy experts also raised their fears that a Trump presidency could make life extremely awkward for Berlin.
 
Sylke Tempel, US expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), described the Republican as “poison for fruitful foreign policy” in an interview with DPA.

“With Trump in the White House, a man has been elected to the most important office in the world who can't control himself, who has no political experience, who takes criticism as personal assault, and who is clearly motivated by vengeance.”

2. A boost to the far-right
 
AfD leader Frauke Petry and Georg Pazderski, AfD leader in Berlin. Photo: DPA
 
The head of the anti-immigration Alternative for Germany (AfD), Frauke Petry, was quick to send her congratulations to the US President elect Donald Trump.
 
This is likely because, as Dr. Carsten Koschmieder told The Local, they will seek to use Trump's victory for their own benefit, especially in the run-up to next year's elections in Germany.

"They can now say ‘look the situation in the US is similar to here. The media and all the other parties don't like us, but in America you see that the true will of the people is on Trump's side, and in Germany the true people's will is on our side',” Koschmieder said.

"They will try and use that to mobilize people who would have normally not voted, but could now be persuaded that things can be changed.

“This is no new strategy, but of course the AfD are looking exactly at what Trump has done and how he was successful, and of course they are looking to learn from that."

3. German startups have a lot of questions

Photo: Pexels.com
 
Following Trump's official victory, Google analytics advocate Adam Singer tweeted that the “party” would probably be over for Silicon Valley as he feared the real estate mogul could send the US into another recession.
 
“Startups and big companies alike in trouble,” Singer continued.
Given that Berlin is a growing startup hub in Europe - and some predict it may beat out London due to Brexit - a lot of questions are being asked in the German capital's tech scene about what this means for them.
 
"I've talked to a lot of people in the startup scene and basically no one knows what's going to happen and it could have a lot of implications," said German entrepreneur Max Kersting, who founded startup room.me with offices in San Francisco and Berlin.
 
"Maybe a lot of foreign money will go into Germany because it seems politically safe. But the question is what is [Trump] really going to do. Everybody is really bummed out, but we don't know how the capital markets will develop over time."
 
One impact on the startup scene could be Trump's tough stance on tightening immigration.
 
"I talked to friends in San Francisco who said it would be the perfect time to leave," Kersting told The Local. "I personally don't expect many to come directly from San Francisco, but if they can't immigrate to the US anymore, this could mean people then entering our ecosystem.
 
"That is the most direct impact. If he makes it difficult to get a visa, they might go to other places such as Berlin."
 
4. Puts NATO alliance into question
 
Photo; DPA.
 
Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen told broadcaster ARD that the election results were a “serious shock”. She explained that questions such as Trump's stance on the NATO alliance remained open, and she would ask him about his position.

“Our interest is to have an America that is willing to take responsibility and is open-minded.”

Throughout his campaign, Trump has been critical of NATO and other countries in the alliance for not pulling their weight. He said over the summer that he would only defend Baltic states against an invading Russia if they had “fulfilled their obligations to us”.
 
In response, the German government stressed its promise to protect its NATO allies.
 
Foreign policy expert Olaf Boehnke told The Local that Trump's isolationist position is likely to be taken advantage of by an increasingly aggressive Russia.
 
Germany, he argues will find it as good as impossible to build an effective defence alliance against Moscow without US support.
 
5. Risk to major trade deal
 
The German government has been eagerly pushing the major Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) deal between the EU and the US. But Trump's campaign has been critical of international trade agreements, saying they cost his country jobs.
 
The topic of international trade was also a major issue for voters on Tuesday, according to CBS News early exit polls, with 41 percent of voters saying that trade takes away jobs from the US.
 
The proposed TTIP deal has received backlash within the German public in the form of huge protests, as activists worry it would negatively impact the EU's labour market and environmental standards.
 
International Relations expert Josef Janning told The Local that Germany "can forget about TTIP" after Trump's election.
 
Still, government spokesman Steffen Seibert insisted on Wednesday that Trump's election as president would not kill the plan, according to Reuters.

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