Le désordre allemand

Two times in a week, Germany has taken short its European partners. On March 7, its Minister of Transport, Volker Wissing, said that he would not vote as a legislative proposal prohibiting new heat -engine vehicles from 2035, when an agreement had been reached between the Twenty-seven and Brussels after long negotiations. On March 14, his colleague in charge of finance, Christian Lindner, demanded the modification of a text on the next reform of the stability and growth pact, which limits public deficit and debt to 3 % and 60 % of the product respectively gross interior. There too, the German flip-flop was all the more surprised since the text had been stalled upstream and that Berlin had found nothing to complain about.

mm. Lindner and Wissing are members of the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) -the first is even the president -, and that is important. Partners of Social Democrats (SPD) and Greens within the “Fire Tricolore” coalition of Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), the Liberals derive few benefits from their participation in the federal government. Since they entered it, in December 2021, they have suffered heavy setbacks at all intermediate elections. The fact that their ministers are distinguished in Brussels by making themselves the singers of the automobile and the budgetary orthodoxy – two themes dear to the voters of the FDP – is undoubtedly not unrelated to the difficulties that their party is going through. But their behavior tarnishes the image of Germany, reinforcing criticism, more and more numerous in the European Union, against a country whose political line is not very readable and whose positions seem to vary according to chicayas that shake his fragile coalition.

that it is difficult to maneuver is not surprising. Unpublished by its tripartite composition, the German government is all the more sensitive to jolts as the invasion of Ukraine by Russia, in February 2022, largely made the “Coalition contract” signed two and a half months laid down. Earlier by SPD, Greens and FDP. This war highlights the alliance formed by these three parties, faced with their contradictions on subjects as fundamental as arms deliveries, the future of nuclear power plants or the fight against inflation.

In themselves, the debates that agitate the majority led by Olaf Scholz are not unhealthy. They are a sign of a democratic and parliamentary vitality of which other countries should be envious, starting with France. But to govern is also to decide. And, when the decisions are made, stick to it.

On this point, Angela Merkel’s successor has yet to prove himself. Chancellor not very talkative at the head of a noisy coalition, he struggles to give a clear course to his policy and is regularly overflowed by his ministers which it is not always easy to know if they speak on behalf of their party or from their country. His frequent differences with his Minister of Foreign Affairs, Annalena Baerbock (Greens), sow confusion in their foreign interlocutors. “Europe is for us in Germany the most important national question”, assured Olaf Scholz, on March 5, at the end of a government seminar at the Château de Meseberg, near Berlin, intended to put oil In the cogs of his team. It is now up to him to prove his European partners.