The humorous campaign slogan will be able to become reality: the very centrist Social Democrat Olaf Scholz “can become chancellor” and replace Angela Merkel at the head of the government. The one who is still finance minister of the Christian Democratic leader (CDU), who for sixteen years presided over the destinies of the Germanic power, presented on Wednesday the outlines of the government agreement between his own party, the Party Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the Liberal Party (FDP). He could become chief executive during the week of December 6.
During the legislative campaign in September, he presented himself as the worthy successor of the Merkelian moderation and compromise, even better than Armin Laschet, who was nevertheless the Chancellor’s dolphin. In reality, there will be a rupture since, for the first time since 2013, the country will no longer be ruled by a “grand coalition” between the CDU and the SPD. The Christian Democrats, dominant since 2005, are rejected in the opposition. The SPD has officially buckled under the leadership of two leaders, Norbert Walters-Borjan and Saskia Esken. In reality, it is a centrist and social-liberal candidate that the old party has chosen to present for the post of prime minister. Because Olaf Scholz is none other than the former secretary of the SPD, responsible for justifying, after 2002, the reforms of Chancellor Gerhard Schröder, who liberalized the labor market and orchestrated the hunt for the unemployed.
The objective of phasing out coal “from 2030”
Scholz will have to rely on the demands of liberal allies, close to the employers. The leader of the FDP, Christian Lindner, will take the head of the Ministry of Finance, defend the German monetarist policy of fight against inflation, budgetary austerity and refusal of solidarity with the rest of the countries of the European Union (EU ), a question on which Angela Merkel had influenced the line of Berlin. The FDP did not welcome the fact that, to deal with the Covid crisis, Olaf Scholz, Minister of Finance, agreed to resort to an increase in public spending.
Not sure, therefore, with such allies, that his campaign credo, “to get out of heartless liberalism”, in the words of an interview with Ouest-France in May 2021, will translate into something concrete. Admittedly, an increase in the minimum wage, which would bring it from 9.6 euros to 12 euros per hour, is planned. But, according to the first details disclosed of the coalition agreement, from 2023, the debt brake, the ban on presenting a budget with a public deficit, would be restored.
Environmentalists get several wallets of weight. The Grünen co-chair, Annalena Baerbock, will be Minister of Foreign Affairs. The co-president, the very moderate Robert Habeck, snatches the Climate superportfolio, with moderate goals. The country has set itself the ambition to get out of coal “from 2030”, whereas the goal was until now 2038. This will involve a “massive development of renewable energies”, but also the “construction of modern gas power stations in order to cover the growing needs for electricity and energy over the next few years at competitive prices ”. The use of gas seems to be a compromise which marks the paw of the liberals in the coalition agreement. Gas is, of course, less polluting than coal, but it does not allow the objectives of the international climate agreement to be met.