Germany may have a stable and more cooperative government

Chancellor Angela Merkel said, Germany and France are “ready and willing” to take a proactive stance and address the challenges of the 21st century together. The Chancellor was on official visit in France for three days during 19 – 21 January 2018, to mark the 55th anniversary of the signing of the Elysée Treaty between the two nations. Photo: Bundesregierung/Bergmann.

The center right and center left German mainstream political parties agreed yesterday evening to form a new grand coalition government. It will be the third time since 2005 the two Christian parties and the socialists jointly govern their country. The socialists will control the Finance, Foreign and Labor ministries, with Martin Schulz, the Social Democratic Party ( SPD) leader in the Foreign desk.

The final text of the agreement though has to be approved by the majority of the 450,000 members of SPD. Can they say ‘no’? Yes they can, but they would rather say yes. Their average age is 60 years old, and as Germans being fairly conservative people they will opt for stability. The party’s youth organization Jusos opposes the agreement (NoGroKo), but its weight is very low in the party membership. Schulz said this time the coalition will have a much stronger Socialist imprint.

So, during the next three and a half years the Germans may see some change in the way the country is managed. This can be a departure from the hazy overlapping of political colors and ideologies of the past. If this won’t be the case, boredom and a few other things like immigration, may induce voters to penalize all three grand coalition parties in the next general election of 2021 and even sooner than that in regional and local votes.

However, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s extra zest to put together another grand coalition government with the social democrats was probably a bit farfetched. She is at the helm of Germany for twelve years and five months now. Her appetite for another term in the Chancellery has provoked a rather noticeable wave of carping, within and without her own party the Christian Democratic Union, CDU and its sister Bavarian party the Christian Social Union, CSU.

Merkel’s zest for cooperation

Objections to Merkel’s enthusiasm for a new grand coalition became louder after last Monday she vowed “being ready for painful compromises”. However, she didn’t mean ‘painful’ only for the side of Christian parties, but possibly more so for SPD. Whatever the final compromise between the Christians and the Socialists, the real test will be the next three and a half years during which the grand coalition government has to prove it was formed for the good of the majority of  Germans.

One month ago on 11 January, this newspaper published a lead story entitled “What will Germany look like after the next election?” It concluded as follows, “the cooperation of the center-left with the center-right parties, proved politically more detrimental for the former; the political developments in Europe for the last twenty years have witnessed the endorsement by the left leaning parties of neoliberal policies. At the same time, anti-labor laws, pro-financial markets measures and income inequality increasing policies have opened the way to harlequin and extreme right wing populists.” True, the collaboration between the mainstream conservative and socialist political forces have cost dearly to both. Last September, electoral results though proved the SPD socialists paid a dearer price. Before them, during the past thirty years it was the British, Swedish, Greek, Spanish and other center-left parties who paid the price for cooperating with the conservatives or for adopting neoliberal policies.

Avoiding further fall

For this reason, Martin Schulz, the leader of SPD, wants to avoid further downfall of his historic party. To do that he has focused his negotiation efforts to reverse what has been the 2006-2007 turning point in deregulating Germany’s labor market; the ‘mini jobs’. For ten years the German employers use this breakthrough legislation to employ mainly but not only low qualification workers with short term repeatedly renewable contracts, paying them poorly and practically leaving them without social insurance coverage. Merkel didn’t agree to abolish this legislation, but was forced to accept limits to the renewals of the short term employment contracts.

The SPD has also insisted in changing Germany’s long established fiscal and incomes austere ideology, not only for the country proper but for the rest of the EU as well. Schulz in a Twitter said the two sides agreed on “more investment, an investment budget for the euro zone and an end of forced austerity!” This will be a major change, after Wolfgang Schäuble – the architect of Germany’s austere strategy – was removed for the key ministry of Finance. He was recently elected in the largely ceremonial position of the Speaker of Bundestag, the federal parliament.

More socially equitable policies

There is also information that the Christians and the Socialists agreed to work towards socially fairer taxation of corporate profits in the entire European Union. It was revealed they will seek “a better and fairer Europe”. This last change of policy line in Berlin will be highly appreciated in Paris. The French President Emmanuel Macron has only just proposed a ground breaking reform of the European Union. He has recommended more fiscal and financial risk sharing between the euro area member states. Germany and France constitute the backbone of the single money Eurozone of 19 EU member states.

Macron has gone as far as to propose the institutionalization in Brussels of a European Finance ministry, a body which in difficult times may mean fiscal collaboration between member states. Obviously, this step will imply more burdens for the German taxpayers, if this intergovernmental cooperation includes trans-national financial backing.

More EU solidarity

To be noted, the 12 January initial grand coalition memorandum between Merkel and Schulz, foreseeing the broad lines for a joint government, includes a passage providing for extended powers and responsibilities for the European Stability Mechanism of Eurozone. This is a tool to bailout euro area governments and contains elements of financial risk sharing between the 19 member states of the euro area. Undoubtedly, more risk sharing in the euro area means bigger financial responsibilities for the Germans and more support for the deficitary countries. This may constitute a turning point in the history of EU, introducing the element of real solidarity among member states. The fate of Greece for example would have been quite different under such conditions.

If all that materializes, Schulz and his Socialists must have really cornered Chancellor Merkel and her Christians. Not to forget, the SPD leadership has to soon pass the agreement in a vote by all the 450,000 party members. Without some major wins for Schulz, the agreement could be blown to pieces. Finally, it remains to be seen how the two sides are to coincide in re-balancing the country’s healthcare system, between the public and the private sector. In any case, Germany is to have a sound and stable government for the next three and a half years, but there will be political cost for that.

 

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Erdogan’s electoral win on a ‘me or chaos’ dilemma means trouble for everybody

New UN-supported farming app is cream of crop in tackling Sahel pest

North-east Nigeria displacement crisis continues amid ‘increased sophistication’ of attackers, warns UN

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: hate speech, dementia, Libya and Yemen, human rights in Brazil and Lebanon

Youth and Participation: are the people rising up in Spain? 


A ‘charismatic leader’ dedicated to making the world a better place for all: officials bid farewell to former UN chief Kofi Annan

Baby foods high in sugar, inappropriately marketed in Europe, reveal two UN studies

Lack of basic water facilities risks millions of lives globally: UN health agency

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “You just don’t know if the oil price will be 20$ or 100$ in the next 2-3 years!” top Harvard economist Kenneth Rogoff underscores from Davos

Alarming number of Ebola deaths in DRC a ‘rallying cry’ to scale up treatment

Hate speech in the digital world a ‘critical obstacle for LGBTI people’: UN’s Bachelet

EU-US to miss 2015 deadline and even lose Germany’s support in TTIP’s darkest week yet

Immigration crisis at its very worst: EU to outsource rescue business to North Africa?

We’ve lost 60% of wildlife in less than 50 years

The three biggest challenges for India’s future

International community agrees on a road map for resolving the tax challenges arising from digitalisation of the economy

TTIP’s 11th round starts in Miami but EU-US businesses see no sunny side

We need to talk about how we define responsibility online – and how we enforce it

How digital is your country? Europe needs Digital Single Market to boost its digital performance

Draghi repels Trump’s threats, rejects Schauble’s dictums

Cryptocurrency mining could become the new face of energy storage. Here’s how

Adjust UN force in Abyei to current realities, peacekeeping chief urges Security Council

European Semester 2019 Spring Package: Commission issues recommendations for Member States to advance sustainable and inclusive economic growth

Despite setbacks, ‘political will’ to end Yemen war stronger than ever: top UN envoy

A record one million Syrians displaced over six months, during six key battles: UN investigators

New identity cards deliver recognition and protection for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh

GSMA announces new keynote speakers for 2018 Mobile World Congress

Removing deadly mines means ‘new horizons and hope’, clears a path to SDGs, says UN chief

The importance of the strategy of health of a country working in accordance with the theory

In an era of global uncertainty, the SDGs can be our guide

These countries create most of the world’s CO2 emissions

At UN, youth activists press for bold action on climate emergency, vow to hold leaders accountable at the ballot box

Companies that put employees first perform better

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: Women boost work profits, saving biodiversity, UK loses Chagos Islands vote, Gaza funding, malaria-free in Argentina, Algeria

Here’s a reason to feel cheerful – the world is full of Good Samaritans

Can self-charging batteries keep us connected for ever? A young scientist explains

North Korea: ‘Time to talk human rights’, says UN expert

“ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges”, a Sting Exclusive by China’s Ambassador to the EU

Password managers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Here’s why

Afghanistan: Bring ‘architects’ of latest ‘appalling’ suicide bombing to justice, says deputy UN mission chief

EU decides “in absentia” of civil society

Wednesday’s Daily Brief: updates from the Near East and Libya, Ebola in DR Congo, World War remembrance

Sudan military committed to ‘ensuring stability’ and ‘peaceful transition’ says senior diplomat, as UN rights chief appeals for protesters’ rights to be upheld

Changing balances: leaders of medical research worldwide

The European Youth raises their voices this week in Brussels at Yo!Fest 2015

Sudan: UN rights chief alarmed over ‘excessive force’, alleged use of live fire against protestors

Member States and Commission to work together to boost artificial intelligence “made in Europe”

Hungary must enforce its foreign bribery offence against companies, including foreign subsidiaries

IMF: World cup and productivity

How close is Eurozone to a new recession which may trigger formidable developments?

International Women’s Day 2019: more equality, but change is too slow

The Monetary Union drives Europe into dangerous paths, CoR demands an EMU of regional content

European Youth, quo vadis?

At last Britain considers a super-soft Brexit

UK: Crawley group wins European Citizens’ Prize

Parliament gives green light to EU-Singapore trade and investment protection deals

FIAT Chrysler: from Geneva Motor show to the World, and back

Hate speech exacerbating societal, racial tensions with ‘deadly consequences around the world’, say UN experts

Reforms in a few countries drive a decline in average OECD labour taxes

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s