The SPD, the Greens and the Liberal Party (FDP) got into the heart of the matter this week in negotiations for the formation of a government, under the leadership of a chancellor, Olaf Scholz (Social Democratic Party, SPD). A reference text adopted following exploratory talks in recent days outlines, in broad outline, the intentions of such an alliance, called “traffic lights”, with reference to the colors (red, yellow, green of the three parties), or an unprecedented configuration in national political life where until now bipartisan coalitions have prevailed.
The document gives pride of place to the FDP (11.5% in the Bundestag election on September 26). While it is the smallest of the three potential allies, this party is in a key position. With an ability to be desired all the more important since he has never hidden his inclinations in favor of … the other potentially majority three-party coalition which would unite him to the CDU / CSU (Christian Democrat) and to the Green.
Towards an “ecological-social market economy”
The project to increase the tax burden on the richest, which has a prominent place in the programs of the SPD and the Greens, has disappeared. Just like the idea of the Social Democrats to reintroduce a wealth tax. Conversely, the three candidates for power make much of the creation of an “ecological-social market economy” in which recourse to market mechanisms is privileged to face the major environmental and social challenges of the moment.
In the social field, a commitment to increase the minimum wage to 12 euros gross per hour (against 9.50 euros today) is the only strong measure torn off by the negotiators of the SPD. For the rest, if criticisms are formulated against “the too great precariousness” or the level of the social minima which pushed, for two decades, millions of German citizens into working poverty, they are immediately tempered by calls to withdraw. endow a “more flexible” labor market or demand greater efficiency in investments “thanks to the digitization of the country” by “fighting against all the cracks of bureaucracy. “
On the front of foreign and European policy, the adopted document is marked by a plea in favor of NATO, and even of “the alliance of democracies”, the concept that Joe Biden brandishes to go to the front against “autocracies”. From Moscow and Beijing. If a reference to the “Franco-German couple” and to more “European autonomy” is carefully introduced, there is never any question of departing from the old Atlanticist orthodoxy. Not the slightest sign of interest in the martial proposals of French President Emmanuel Macron in favor of an intervention force, or even an EU army complementary to NATO.
As for post-covid management, it will have to be marked by a rapid return, “from 2022” had warned Olaf Scholz, to budgetary austerity. With application of the “debt brake” enshrined in the German Constitution, which prohibits any deficit overrun of more than 0.5% of GDP. And very quickly the implementation of the drastic standards of the Stability Pact at European level.
Christian Lindner, the leader of the liberal right, however, perhaps wanted to push his advantage too far. He claims the post of future Minister of Finance. This earned him a scathing clarification from green leaders noting that nothing has yet been validated on “personnel issues”. Is this a final little quack at the start of the marathon of negotiations or something more serious?