A More Daring Germany
Germany’s new ruling coalition has advanced a much-needed vision for the country, but realizing it will depend largely on its party leaders’ political skill. If the coalition fails, Germany will risk reverting to its old habit of doing too little too late – an outcome that would jeopardize its position in Europe and the world.
BERLIN – After eight weeks of negotiations, Germany has a new government. For the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, who succeeds Angela Merkel as chancellor, the much-anticipated coalition agreement augurs nothing less than a revitalized “progressive Mitte” or progressive center – and a far bolder Germany.
The coalition agreement was drafted behind closed doors, with little news leaking out. But it is safe to assume that forging it was no easy feat. This is the first national-level three-party alliance in since the 1950s, and the center-left Social Democrats, the Greens, and the liberal Free Democrats have plenty to disagree about.
Meanwhile, Germany is once again being pummeled by COVID-19 – the fourth wave of a pandemic that has been exacerbated by popular complacency, administrative inefficiency, and squabbling between state governments and the federal authorities. Add to that a darkening economic outlook and a looming migration crisis, and negotiators knew that they would be presenting the coalition agreement to a weary and wary public.