Voters in Germany have abandoned the parties of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government at the European elections, handing the conservative CDU/CSU alliance of European Commission leader Ursula von der Leyen a clear lead, reports online news agency Clean Energy Wire. The vote also brought an unprecedented result for the far-right AfD, which came out as the second strongest party. The populist group even emerged as the strongest party in the country’s East, where a string of three state elections looks set to keep tensions in the three-way coalition high amid constant campaigning and difficult budget talks for 2025.

The leaders of the Greens and of Scholz’s SPD had already conceded that the government needed to take a critical look at itself – citing the country’s ill-designed heating law as an example of how not to do climate action if you aim to keep people on board.

Reaction in Germany

German businesses, researchers and civil society have welcomed that democratic and pro-EU parties continue to have a large majority after the 2024 EU elections, but warned that wins for the populist and far-right  parties mean that it would become more difficult to introduce ambitious climate and energy transition policy in the future.