German Vote 2017: Business Must Wait As Limboland Merkel Faces Hard Coalition Choices
Germany's CDU leader Angela Merkel secured her fourth term as chancellor, but chastened by an election result that saw many of her 2013 voters turn to the liberals and far right, her hand is weakened. Indeed, the EU's rock of political stability has sprung many a surprise in delivering a 2017 election result that will give businesses a sense both of unease and promise, with the re-emergence of the liberal and business-focused FDP.
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Germany's center-left SPD party will be the junior partner in the new government after 66% of party members voted in favor of another coalition with the center-right Christian Union parties led by Angela Merkela. Jens Spahn, who is in Merkel's party but not in her inner circle, has already been given the health portfolio.
Other than regulatory concerns, 2017 was a relatively problem-free year for Germany's medtech industry. But that is not expected to last far into 2018, according to the industry group BVMed, which this week laid out its priorities for the year ahead. It seems likely that a new government comprising the same coalition partners as in the previous administration will be decided early in the new year, and with it will come new health-care policy aims and budgets for 2017-2021.
Germany has joined the unfortunate group of global economies coupled with the tag "political uncertainty." That much was assured when the government coalition talks in Berlin collapsed last week. Below the surface, life and business goes on as usual – and medtech is no different – but the vacuum can only last for so long.