CNN  — 

She’s been a fixture of life in Germany for almost 16 years. But now the political stability that the country has enjoyed for so long under Angela Merkel is coming to an end as she prepares to stand down as Chancellor.

Until recently, the consensus was that despite standing down and letting her successor fight September’s federal election, Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU) in Bavaria, would still be the dominant force in German politics.

Last week, a shock poll placed the Green party ahead of the CDU by a margin of 7%. While CDU sources dismissed this as an expected spike in popularity after confirming Annalena Baerbock as their candidate for Chancellor that will die down, it’s long been expected that Germany’s next coalition would include the Green party in some way.

Subsequent polls have also placed the Greens ahead of Merkel’s party on the “Sunday Question,” a weekly survey that literally tracks how Germans would vote if elections were held this Sunday.

“Even if the Greens don’t win outright, a decent enough share of the vote would force the CDU to cut the Greens a good deal in a coalition deal as they don’t have many options for partners,” says Cathryn Clüver Ashbrook, executive director of the Project on Europe and the Transatlantic Relationship at the Harvard Kennedy School.

Despite this Green surge, few are expecting any radical policy changes in Germany, as the CDU have adopted numerous Green policies over the past few years and the Greens have drifted rightwards to becoming a centrist party. Indeed, Cem Özdemir, a senior Green politician, said recently that his party would not be radically changing German policy on NATO, European policy or support for Israel, three issues that had been contentious in the past.

The second of those issues should be of comfort to the European Union’s top brass in Brussels. Germany, as the wealthiest and largest member state, carries enormous influence in the overall direction of the European project. Under Merkel, Germany was broadly supportive of the EU’s agenda, only occasionally throwing its weight around and blocking certain proposals.

Despite the party seemingly having little appetite to make radical changes within the EU, a Green victory in Germany would mark a symbolic end of an era in Brussels.

The European People’s Party (EPP), a pan-European center-right group with members from all EU member states, is the dominant political force in Brussels. It has more elected leaders than any other political bloc in