Traffic lights, Jamaica and nostalgia for Merkel
Voting is telling a story. The German election, which is actually a full-fledged European election because Germany has never had so much power in the EU, has so far been a story of nostalgia: the end of the era Merkel. But nostalgia is a bad policy advisor. Western democracies have been showing signs of insanity for years, generating an overheated political climate of mistrust and intolerance, in large part because all eyes were too focused on the happy rearview mirror of nostalgia. Merkel will miss the Germans, who gave them three decades of prosperity and stability. Southern Europeans a little less: The Chancellor sponsored the austerity policies that needlessly worsened the Great Recession, with selfish leadership and a lackluster vision of Europe, riddled with sanctions, disciplines and poisoned resentments that do not fade – and only in part – only with the management of the coronavirus. All this, in short, has passed from the water.
The story of nostalgia for the end of merkelato He has covered the gist: If he consolidates his advantage and Olaf Scholz masters the difficult art of coalition building, Germany and Europe are at a political tipping point. If the center-right loses Berlin, it will not reign in any of the four big countries of the Union. These are major words for European economic policy, for immigration policy, for energy policy (watch out for the coming winter: energy has the potential for disruption to be the new covid, say the apocalyptics) and , in short, for almost everything.
Two points and a sum. There are two essential facts: analysts consider that if the SPD manages to largely rule out the CDU, the chancellor will probably be the social democrat (we will see if in a few years the supposed social democrat should be written) Scholz. If the red-green-red coalition (SPD-Verts-Die Linke) exceeds 50%, which also does not seem possible at this stage, the inflection point would become a paradigm shift. In Germany, it is an unwritten law that the party with the most deputies in the coalition appoints the chancellor. But beware, because the most voted party can end up in the opposition: in 1969, 1976 and 1980 the Christian Democrats won, but the Social Democrats allied themselves with the Liberals and occupied the Chancellery. Scholz has plenty of ballots to win, and those are big words: the CDU-CSU has a relentless electoral machine and has ruled 50 of the past 70 years. Armin Laschet had a bad campaign and led his party to the worst result in its history. And yet, he is a proven negotiator. There is a party.
Possibilities. The fire option (the red of the SPD, the yellow of the liberals and the greens) is the most conceivable, although the possibility of a Jamaican coalition (CDU-CSU, greens and liberals, whose colors coincide with those of the flag of the Caribbean Island) is still on the table. Either way, if the Liberals kept the finance portfolio, the news for the South would be less favorable. From there, everything becomes blurry. Scholz and the Greens prefer the red light, but they could find themselves allied with Die Linke: the left turn, in this case, would be very steep, but that combination is almost out of the question. A grand coalition with the three major parties (SPD, CDU and Greens) is extremely difficult; a minority SPD-Greens government would be very unstable by German standards. This battle has just started.
Scholz effect. If Scholz becomes Merkel’s successor, the implications are exceptional for the entire continent. The conservatives are overrepresented in European institutions: without Germany, they would not rule in any of the big countries (Austria and Poland would be their two most powerful leaders), and Scholz could lead a shift beyond politics. economic. German Social Democrats match Joe Biden’s new orthodoxy in the United States and in institutions like the IMF: with the SPD at the helm, it would be more unlikely to withdraw stimulus measures early in Europe. In geopolitical terms, nothing is going to be easy: Biden is looking to the Pacific and the EU should take seriously the warning voices calling for greater European strategic autonomy.
European moment. The coming months are crucial for the EU. The ECB must redefine its strategy: this will be the key for Spain. Fiscal rules must be changed: this will also be the key for Spain. And we should avoid the mistakes of the past and move forward on the path opened by the coronavirus, with more economic integration: bingo, once again, is the key for Spain. The more optimistic say that with Scholz everything is easier, although the leader of the SPD was reluctant to change the Stability Pact. Reality, moreover, is always a little more elusive than theoretical frameworks: the last social democratic chancellor works for Russia (“Vladimir Putin is an impeccable democrat”, a wonderful sentence by Gerhard Schröder), and during Over the past 20 years, German foreign policy has relied almost exclusively on pampering the gigantic trade surplus, exporting the corset of ordoliberalism in fiscal matters, and obsessing over debt as the world plunged into the Sargassum sea of secular stagnation. “The Germans are a confused people who confuse others,” wrote Thomas Mann. Hopefully in Berlin the hour of clarity has arrived: better to have the horizon clear at the top of this magical mountain.
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