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New German Government Finally in the Making

Jan. 12, 2018 (EIRNS)—Maybe French President Emmanuel Macron's trip to China, during which he announced himself the leader in Europe for building constructive cooperation with China’s New Silk Road, helped to accelerate the three-party talks in Berlin on the formation of a new government coalition: It is all too evident that Germany urgently needs a real new government to play a role in all these new developments.

Whereas, as of the night of Jan. 11, everybody was still speaking of "big rocks in the road" that had to be removed, by this morning, everyone expressed confidence that a basis for a new coalition has been created. This basis is a set of concessions: The Christian Democratic Union (CDU) made sure that the "black zero" of budget-balancing is in the 28-page paper agreed on; the CDU's Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union (CSU) got its demand that a limit of 200,000 for the annual number of refugees Germany would take in would be imposed; and the Social Democratic Party (SPD) got its demand that social and health insurance payments would again, as in former times, be equally divided between employers and employees. No tax increases, no big spending, but commitment to pay more into "Europe" after the exit of the Brits.

Therefore, in spite of stronger opposition inside the SPD party base, it is generally expected that both the SPD and the CSU will approve the 28-page paper, which so far is only a roadmap, by the end of next week, so that real coalition talks can begin. CSU Chairman Horst Seehofer said he is optimistic now that there will be a new government before Easter, which is April 1 this year. This would be a government again led by Angela Merkel as Chancellor. But a review of achievements is envisaged in mid-term of the four-year government term.

The contents of the 28 pages are not earthshaking, though: a lot of digitization of the economy and society, no banking separation but only a transaction tax, creation of 15,000 more jobs for police, and the like. No great projects.

The most interesting part of the paper is the demand for a new "Elysée Treaty" between France and Germany, to update the 1963 treaty whose signing 55 years ago will be celebrated by both national parliaments on Jan. 22. Franco-German relations are to be given a new impetus. This actually has the potential of turning into something interesting—provided that the French and German policymakers are doing their job and define a future-oriented strategy of working with the New Silk Road dynamic.