The New German Government
The new German government will be announced in a few minutes. There will be no surprises: Olaf Scholz of the SPD will be chancellor, Robert Habeck of the Greens will be vice-chancellor with a wide-ranging portfolio of responsibilities, Annalena Baerbock of the Greens will be foreign minister, and Christian Lindner of the FDP will be finance minister. To the victors have gone the spoils.
What is surprising, on the other hand, is that the negotiations have reached a culmination so quickly. Immediately after the election, no one expected to see a new government before Christmas. Despite reports of some frictions in the talks, the parties managed to reach an agreement despite real differences in their outlooks. In an era of extremely polarized politics in many countries, it is heartening to see that the Germans have maintained their ability to compromise. It remains to be seen how this new and unprecedented coalition will hold up in the face of unforeseen future shocks, which are bound to come.
What does the new German government signify for France and for Europe? For now, continuity is the watchword. As Macron made known publicly, Lindner’s presence as finance minister is not good news for Macron’s European ambitions, but these were probably going nowhere anyway, despite the upcoming French round in the rotating EU presidency. Still, Scholz was instrumental in loosening EU purse strings during the Covid crisis, and one can imagine a robust relationship developing between Habeck and Macron, both of whom nurse philosophical pretensions. À suivre.