Germany in the 21st Century Part II

In any case, due to one of those paradoxes that history enjoys constellating its progress, those who previously had been Schröder’s opponents, both on the right and on the left, will be forced to make an incredible metamorphosis to implement the program that had been Schröder’s. The Christian Democrats will have to renounce to force in a radically neoliberal sense the reform of the welfare state and that of the labor market, as instead had hinted at Merkel herself in the final phase of the electoral campaign, proposing as a possible future finance minister of a yellow-black coalition a supporter of the introduction of the single rate, the so-called flag tax. The prospect, it must be added, is not at all unwelcome to those sectors of the CDU sensitive to the lesson of Christian social doctrine and, ultimately, not even to Stoiber himself, to whom a collaboration with the SPD seems much more welcome and reasonable. ‘than the alliance with the liberals, a party whose’ metropolitan ‘, postmodern and secularized values ​​are very far from those dear to the Bavarians. For their part, the left-wing opponents in the SPD and perhaps also some of the Linkspartei-PDS itself, after having hindered the reformist modernization action undertaken by Schröder, today after the victory, even if narrowly, to the point of forcing it to paralysis measure.

Evidently every compromise is always such, that is, in principle, unstable and provisional. So it is more than likely that the life of the next German government will be complicated by a daily guerrilla warfare on formulas and contents because each of the contenders will try to impose their own objectives on the other, or will try to cheat trying to pass off even half-defeats as victories. or the inevitable hasty retreats. And as in any self-respecting pact, the two contenders, while with one hand they will greet the agreement reached in public, with the other they will hold, well hidden in a pocket, the knife (obviously understood in a metaphorical sense) which, in the moment when they deem it appropriate, they will pull out to hit their ally / opponent.

According to petsinclude, the Christian Democrats could be tempted to use the Bundesrat, the chamber of regions whose vote is necessary for the most relevant laws, to blackmail the SPD and force the bills in a more decidedly liberal sense. While for its part the SPD could be tempted to use as a weapon of pressure on the government partner that ‘majority to the left of the center’ represented by the Greens, the SPD and Linkspartei that exists in the Bundestag, the federal parliament. To avoid the danger of a legislature that proceeds politically as if traveling on a roller coaster, it seems that the two sides have formally committed themselves to rejecting the temptation of parliamentary transformation.

Obviously, the duration of this grand coalition experiment will largely depend on the willingness to compromise and the willingness to respect the agreements that the two parties will be able to demonstrate. Among other things, the cohabitation will impose a limitation in fact if not in law of the decision-making power, the so-called Richtlinienkompetenz, which art. 65 of the Grundgesetz assigns to the figure of the federal chancellor since, as the leaders of the SPD were quick to point out, in a grosse Koalition the function of the chancellor can only be that of a primus inter pares if not even a simple ‘notary’. In any case, if it is difficult to believe that it could be a legislature government (neither was the first experiment of large Koalitions, the one dating back to the end of the 1960s), it is however likely that the Merkel government will last longer than predict some not exactly disinterested Cassandre. Also because in 2007 it will be Germany’s turn to hold the six-month presidency of the European Union and many people indicate that date as the most appropriate moment to try to relaunch the European Constitution project to which Germany for geopolitical reasons and Merkel for reasons spiritual, as a good student of Helmut Kohl, are very interested.

In any case, it is now clear that as long as Germany does not make its choices, Europe too is destined to continue in its political babble. And an eternally indecisive Europe favors Germany’s tendency to withdraw into itself and postpone all reforms, especially painful ones. Indeed it is possible that this German irresoluteness reveals itself in the conditions of crisis of what, admired and feared at the same time, was the Modell Deutschland, today’s version of the historic ‘German question’ which from 1870 onwards has cyclically conditioned the historical events and the geopolitical balances of the old continent. In short, it is difficult to avoid noting that the ‘new German political opacity’ is a cause and at the same time a consequence of the paralysis of the process of building a European Union as a political entity capable of acting together on the international scene.

Germany in the 21st Century 2