Forthcoming Events

All events held at the National Assembly for Wales, Ty Hywel, Cardiff Bay – Formal invitations will be circulated nearer the time

Gorwel 2017 Talks – advanced notice

Gorwel will have a variety of talks this year. The following have now been confirmed:

27th June 2017 – 18.30-20.00 | The Changing Shape of Germany, EU-Hegemon or ‘Hippy State’?  A reflection of the state of Germany as we move towards the Federal elections – Professor Julian Preece, Swansea University, Venue – Old Assembly Chamber, National Assembly for Wales 


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“The Changing Shape of Germany, EU-Hegemon or ‘Hippy State’? Issues and Personalities in the Federal Elections of 2017”

By Prof Julian Preece,
Professor of German Studies, Swansea University,
Director of Think German Wales and the Centre for Research into Contemporary German Culture

National Assembly for Wales Tuesday 27th June  2017 18.30-20.00
Venue Old Chamber, Ty Hwyel, National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff Bay

Brexit, Trump, Macron: Electoral politics in the western democracies is changing in unprecedented ways as voter allegiances shift, established parties crumble, and old battle lines are re-drawn. How will Germans respond when they go to the polls on 17 September 2017? In the summer of 2015, Chancellor Angela Merkel, in office since 2005, looked set to equal records established by fellow Christian Democrats Konrad Adenauer (1949-63) and Helmut Kohl (1982-98) and win a fourth successive victory. Then came the extraordinary events of the ‘migrant crisis’, the rise of the Pegida movement and the far-right party, ‘Die Alternative für Deutschland’. In January this year, the Social Democrats nominated EU Parliament President Martin Schulz their chancellor candidate and his poll ratings soared.

The SPD’s Frank-Walter Steinmeier was elected Federal President in March, only the third Social Democrat to hold this office in the history of the republic. The SPD then crashed in state elections in the Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North-Rhine Westphalia. The smaller parties as ever in Germany play key roles: Europe’s largest Green Party, Die Grünen, once a haven for radicals, now firmly embourgeoisé; the rump of the old East German state communist party, Die Linke, currently the third largest force in the Bundestag; the resurgent Free Democrats; and of course the AfD which may achieve what has eluded any party to the right of the CDU and cross the 5% hurdle at a national election. In this talk, Professor Julian Preece will provide his analysis of how events are likely to unfold over the final months of the campaign and what the flavour of the new government in Berlin is likely to be.

The talk will cover:

  • The campaign so far: personalities, parties and policies
  • The after-effects of the ‘migrant crisis’ and the mobilisation of the nationalist right
  • State and Presidential Elections in Germany thus far in 2017
  • Coalition options for Merkel and Schulz
  • German leadership in the EU and relations with ‘problem states’, Russia, Turkey, the UK

Speaker’s Biography

Julian Preece is the author of numerous books, including The Life and Work of Günter Grass: Literature, History, Politics (2001/04) and Baader-Meinhof and the Novel: Narratives of the Nation, Fantasies of the Revolution (2012). He is the director of Think German Wales which promotes the take-up of German in Welsh schools.

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