According to POLITICSEZINE, Germany borders nine countries in total. To the north of Germany lies Denmark, the two countries separated by the Baltic Sea. To the northeast of Germany is Poland, with a border formed by rivers and mountains. To the east of Germany is the Czech Republic, with a border formed by rivers and mountains as well. The southernmost country bordering Germany is Austria, separated by the Danube River and other mountain ranges. Further to the southwest lies Switzerland, divided from Germany by high mountain passes and forests. To the west of Germany are France, Luxembourg and Belgium, all connected through a common boundary running along small rivers and canals. Finally, to the northwest lies The Netherlands, which shares its border with Germany along rivers and canals as well.
Germany also has two special external territories: Heligoland in the North Sea (belonging to Lower Saxony) and Büsingen am Hochrhein in Baden-Württemberg which borders Switzerland on land but is completely surrounded by German territory.
The majority of these borders have been established since World War II with some adjustments made during German reunification in 1989/90 when East Germany was added to West Germany once again to form one united nation. These days all these borders are peaceful between neighboring countries as they are all part of one European Union where citizens have freedom of movement across many different countries without needing visas or permits.
Government of Germany
According to programingplease.com, Germany is a federal parliamentary republic in which the chancellor, currently Angela Merkel, is the head of government. The president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, holds a largely ceremonial role as the head of state. The German government is composed of 16 states and three federal districts. The legislative power lies with the bicameral parliament which consists of the Bundestag (lower house) and Bundesrat (upper house). Members of the Bundestag are elected by popular vote every four years and its composition reflects the proportional representation of political parties. On the other hand, members of Bundesrat are appointed by each state’s government based on their respective populations.
The executive power in Germany is vested in both the government and president, but is primarily exercised by the chancellor and cabinet ministers who are appointed by the president after being elected by Bundestag. The German Constitution also grants considerable powers to individual states for legislation on matters falling within its own jurisdiction like education, culture, police etc. All laws passed by federal parliament must be approved by both houses before they can become law and any constitutional changes must be approved by an absolute majority in both houses as well as two-thirds majority in at least three-fourths of all state legislatures.
Recent Heads of Government of Germany
Angela Merkel has been the Chancellor of Germany since 2005 and is currently serving her fourth term. She is the leader of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the first female Chancellor in German history. Prior to her, Gerhard Schröder served as Chancellor from 1998 to 2005. Schröder was a member of the Social Democratic Party (SPD). He was known for his controversial economic reforms, which were met with both praise and criticism. Before Schröder, Helmut Kohl served as Chancellor from 1982 to 1998. He was a member of the CDU and oversaw German reunification in 1990. Kohl is considered one of Germany’s most influential statesmen in modern history and received numerous honors for his service as chancellor. His predecessor, Helmut Schmidt, led Germany from 1974 to 1982 as a member of the SPD. Schmidt was known for his economic policies which focused on reducing unemployment and inflation while maintaining fiscal stability in Germany. He also worked closely with other European leaders to strengthen ties between countries in Europe during his time as chancellor.
Major Political Parties in Germany
The two major political parties in Germany are the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The CDU is a centre-right party that emphasizes economic liberalism, fiscal conservatism, and social conservatism. It is led by Chancellor Angela Merkel and is currently the largest party in the Bundestag. The SPD is a centre-left party that supports social democracy, welfare state policies, and progressive taxation. It is led by Martin Schulz and is currently the second-largest party in the Bundestag. Both parties have been in power since 1949 and have traditionally formed coalitions with smaller parties to form government. For example, during the current legislative period (2017–2021), they formed a grand coalition with their traditional rivals, the Christian Social Union (CSU) and the Free Democratic Party (FDP). Additionally, both parties have affiliated youth organisations which are very active in German politics. The CDU’s youth organisation is known as Junge Union while the SPD’s youth organisation is called Jusos. These organisations provide an important platform for young people to engage with politics and make their voices heard on issues such as climate change, economic inequality, education reform, immigration policy, and more.