21 January 2018
One of the big problems with Martin Schulz when he was the putative centre-left president of the European Parliament was that he almost always went along with the right. That meant that important decisions were cooked up in advance with the centre-right European People's Party and on occasion with the Liberal group too. When he left, the Italian president of the centre-left group, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats promised to put an end to this 'Grand Coalition'. Now, however, just over half of the SPD's elected representatives in Germany have voted in favour of joining a 'Grand Coalition' government – known by its German acronym as the 'GroKo' – and Schulz can repeat his tricks. Bad news for the Federal Republic, bad news for whatever was left of German social democracy's trustworthiness, and bad news too for the European Parliament.