Dec 8, 2021 - World

Olaf Scholz sworn in as German chancellor, succeeding Merkel

Incoming German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is sworn in by Bundestag President Bärbel Bas in Berlin today. Photo: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Social Democrat Olaf Scholz was sworn in as chancellor of Germany on Wednesday, succeeding Angela Merkel after 16 years and launching a new era of German and European politics.

Why it matters: Scholz, a center-left pragmatist who served as finance minister and vice chancellor in Merkel's last government, will lead Europe's largest economy in a coalition with the environmentalist Greens and pro-business Free Democrats.

The big picture: Climate change, more progressive social and economic policies, and a stronger European Union are the central planks of the Social Democratic platform.

  • The experienced former mayor of Hamburg is seen as a continuity figure for Merkel's foreign policy, which has been driven in large part by the interests of Germany's export-driven industry.
  • But Scholz's junior coalition partners are expected to push for a harder line on Russia and China, which Merkel had resisted.

Driving the news: Scholz's first trip abroad as chancellor will be to France, where President Emmanuel Macron will be eager to welcome a fellow proponent of greater EU integration and "sovereignty."

Go deeper: Why Merkel mattered

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