C confirmation that Germany will soon be ruled by a tripartite coalition led by Social Democrat Olaf Scholz is an event to be taken seriously, and not sonly in Germany. This is all the more true as once the coalition parties - Social Democrats, Green and Liberals - each vote their formal approval, Mr Scholz will take over from Angela Merkel , who ruled with ingenuity for 16 years while providing great stability on the international stage.
Merkel's departure means that her center-right alliance CDU-CSU is facing a period of eclipse and reinvention. The new administration, nicknamed the coalition of traffic lights because of the colors of the parties, will however be part of a continuity with the recent past, in particular in matters of foreign, European and defense policy. More problematic, the new Minister of Finance, Christian Lindner of the Liberal Free Democrat Party, is now able to defend Germany 's familiar budgetary orthodoxy and debt aversion in the face of future pressures on spending by other coalition parties, as well as on the EU budget phase. To some extent, such tensions are implicit in any three-way coalition. These should not be exaggerated or minimized. Yet the new government and the EU will not easily survive Germany's hasty return to traditional austerity and debt avoidance, so the commitment's goals The coalition agreement may turn out to be more ambitious than achievable. Promises of investment in infrastructure and climate crisis measures will also challenge the culture of budget restraint. Ultimately, the the test of the Scholz government will be how it manages these tensions.
Yet larger agenda , presented in the document hammered from the general election , should not be considered stable-as- we- go programming. With the Greens at the head of a new ministry for the economy and climate protection, the targets will require 80% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030, the exit from coal "ideally" in the same timeframe, and an accelerated abandonment of gas by 2040. Equally striking, especially givenof Great Britain, is the coalition's promise of a paradigm shift in migration and integration policy to make Germany "a modern immigration country". Promised measures include speeding up the visa process, easier entitlement to passports and support for refugee quotas. Other important liberalizations include easing the gender change process, lifting the ban on the sale of recreational cannabis, and reducing the voting age from 18 to 16.
Old party loyalties are crumbling across Europe, not just Germany, so this coalition should be seen as a possible form of things to come . As always, however, the best plans are vulnerable to immediate events. The tto Covid in Germany reached registration levels this month, and contentious lockdowns and mandatory vaccinations are on the agenda in some states. Mr. Scholz and his government may not enjoy the luxury of a honeymoon for long.