The change in continuity: the formula spontaneously comes to mind to describe the transition underway at the head of Germany. This Wednesday November 24 was the perfect illustration. In the morning, Angela Merkel (CDU) chaired her last Council of Ministers. For the occasion, her vice-chancellor, Olaf Scholz (SPD), offered her a bouquet of flowers, thanking her warmly for her sixteen years of“Tireless commitment” at the head of the country. In the afternoon, the same Olaf Scholz held a press conference to present the “coalition contract” which will serve as a roadmap for the government of which he will take the reins when he is elected chancellor by the Bundestag, probably in the week of December 6.
The 177-page long “coalition contract” is entitled: “Daring for more progress”. A nod to the slogan of Willy Brandt (SPD) who, in 1969, was elected chancellor on the following promise: “Dare more democracy”. Half a century later, Olaf Scholz also places his mandate under the sign of daring, going so far as to promise, with an emphasis that is unusual for him, “The most important modernization of German industry in over a century”. On closer inspection, however, the government he will lead with the Greens and the Liberal Democratic Party (FDP) – a first in Germany – should not fundamentally break with Angela Merkel’s policies. Except perhaps at the societal level with the decision to legalize cannabis, which will be sold “in approved stores” in order to “control its quality, prevent the distribution of contaminated substances and protect public health. “.
Symbol of this continuity: the Ministry of Finance. Supporters of a revision of the “debt brake”, a principle enshrined in the Constitution since 2009 and which prohibits the federal state from borrowing more than 0.35% of gross domestic product, the Greens dreamed of winning this wallet. It will finally be entrusted to the liberals, defenders of a strict budgetary orthodoxy. Under the leadership of their president, Christian Lindner, who should settle in the office occupied since 2018 by Olaf Scholz, Germany plans to return to balanced public accounts from 2023, after having freed itself from the “brake on debt ”for three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Minimum wage of 12 euros
If they succeeded in preventing the introduction of a wealth tax, demanded by the Social Democrats and the ecologists, the Liberals nevertheless had to make concessions. On the social front, first: as Olaf Scholz had promised during his campaign, the minimum wage will drop to 12 euros gross per hour (against 9.60 euros currently) from next year. On the economy, then: if the FDP recovers the transport portfolio, obtaining in passing the non-establishment of a speed limit of 130 km / h on the motorway, the Greens have on the other hand obtained a large ministry of economy, energy and climate, as well as those of the environment and agriculture.
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