Europe and realt political priorities of the Solz government

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What is changing in Germany with the new coalition government under Olaf Solz? Early statements and movements of executives send interesting messages.

The Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens and the Liberals (FDP) have formally approved in recent days the new governing coalition under Social Democrat Olaf Soltz, who until recently was deputy chancellor and finance minister. Even before the new government is sworn in, the expectations are huge. Some predict a continuation of Merkel’s policy with another “wrapper”. But most – and especially Green and Liberal voters who have been “out of wedlock” for many years – hope the Soltz government will launch major changes and modernization cuts.

How can the coexistence of diverse political forces with a perspective of (at least) four years work? In neighboring Austria, former Chancellor Sebastian Kurtz, abbot of an unusual Conservative-Green alliance, had established the principle of “non-interference” in the ministries. The Greens, for example, would not object to the super-conservative interior minister’s policy on refugees, even if it was not in line with their political agenda. For a while the tactics worked, but in the medium term probably did not contribute to the longevity of the ruling coalition. Everything shows that in Germany Olaf Solz does not follow a similar tactic, but claims a more intrusive role for himself.

In social matters the field of convergence seems greater for the parties participating in the new coalition. The imminent legalization of cannabis, which is explicitly provided for in the program agreement for the new government, is a radical step that would hardly be taken by a Christian Democratic government. Cutting in family law was also announced on Monday by the future Minister of Family Affairs, Anne Spiegel, from the Green Party, saying that the concept of family is now characterized by “diversity”. A revision of the traditional concept of the family, with all that entails in matters of adoption and inheritance rights, if actually implemented, would cause a small … revolution in German society.

Seibel’s legacy in economic policy

The takeover of the finance ministry by the liberal Christian Lindner, whom some call the “new Seibel”, is causing concern in the European South. Lindner himself, as well as other top Liberal leaders, have repeatedly raised the issue of debt during the election campaign, projecting the FDP as a “prudent voice” in managing public finances. Speaking to DER SPIEGEL magazine recently, Lindner recalled that his party, still in opposition, had voted in favor of the Recovery Fund. Therefore, he says, “we support what has been agreed in the EU, but which does not give rise to a new, sustainable (economic) architecture. This has been ruled out by many Member States, including recently the Prime Minister of Finland.” Asked how he would run his ministry and his relationship with Social Democrat Olaf Solz, who succeeds him as finance minister, Lindner said: “I will not hesitate to seek the advice of my experts or even my predecessors. They include, notably, Wolfgang Schieble. ”

On the other hand, Christian Lindner emphasizes, in the same interview, that he does not take over “the FDP Ministry of Finance, but of the Federal Republic of Germany”. The truth is that in recent months the president of the Liberals has shown flexibility, where necessary. He warned in August that an alliance with the Social Democrats and the Greens “would be a threat to the existence of the FDP”, but today he is part of that very alliance. Months ago he was against the compulsory vaccination, but today he declares that he will vote for it in Parliament, as “the data of the pandemic have changed”. How much “European” water Christian “Lindner” will put in his “Berlin wine” also depends on the degree of intervention of Olaf Solz. It is indicative that in the program agreement for the new government, the word “Europe” is mentioned about twenty times, while in the pre-election debates among the top candidates it was not heard even once. In the run-up to the election, however, Soltz had warned the Liberals that they should back down from some campaign announcements, because the equation “tax breaks plus increased state investment plus six subsidies for the pandemic, but without new borrowing” simply does not work.

SPD: The balances with the left wing

Another issue that Olaf Soltz is called upon to resolve, or at least not ignore, is his difficult relations with the party apparatus and especially with the left wing of the SPD. His decision to support 30-year-old political scientist Kevin Connert as the party’s new secretary general makes sense. Many believe that Kunert’s behind-the-scenes work led to the defeat of Soltz in 2019, when he had claimed the presidency of the SPD, but in the end the ballot box led to the leadership of the left duo Saskia Esken and Norbert Walter Borgans. This year, the admittedly charismatic Kunert made a leap in his career. At the beginning of the year he resigned from the leadership of the Social Democratic Youth (Jusos), in September he ran for parliament to be elected with characteristic comfort, now he is intended for a new general secretary of the party.

Is this a “wise” concession of Soltz that obviously does not bother him that the left wing controls the party, as long as he controls the government? It may be so. On the other hand, some commentators note, until the September elections, one of the main tasks of the SPD general secretary was to be invited to TV talk shows to defend the government’s policy. Can we imagine Kevin Connery in this role? Time will tell.

Analena Berbock and the “dialogue”

A new style seems to prevail in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs with Analena Berbok. At least that is what Burbok herself claims in a recent interview with the Tageszeitung newspaper. “Dialogue is a cornerstone of international politics, but dialogue does not mean distancing or embellishing things,” Burbock said when asked about future policy toward China. For Russia, the future foreign minister simply states that “we must take seriously the legitimate security interests of our Eastern European partners.” However, the Tageszeitung notes that the program agreement for the new coalition government does not contain the slightest reference to the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, despite the fact that the Greens had expressed their opposition to the project in the run-up to the elections, causing discontent in Moscow. Obviously the necessary balances are sought here as well.

Giannis Papadimitriou

Source: Deutsche Welle

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Source From: Capital

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