Tuesday, October 19

Europe’s engine idling

The list of tasks for the new government makes up the sections on which the negotiations for the formation of the cabinet will revolve, which will continue over the next few months and which will have to be closed, before investing the next federal chancellor, both the specific content and the deadlines in which the most difficult issues will be addressed. The major parties have been very careful during the electoral campaign not to be inflexible in their programs because the key to electoral victory is the ability to reach agreements on these matters. Climate protection “We have not done enough,” Merkel acknowledged in her last press conference on climate protection. In 2016, Germany pledged in the Paris Climate Agreement to limit the temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, but the Constitutional Court declared the Climate Protection Law unconstitutional in April as insufficient and noted that younger and future generations run the risk of having to restrict their freedom too much because the present governments are shaking the pulse. Obeying, Germany has taken further steps: instead of 2050 it has set a goal of 2045 for climate neutrality, but the Environment Ministry recognizes that it will largely not meet its partial climate targets in 2030 and 2040. Housing Bavarian Social Christian Horst Seehofer he has defined the housing problem as “the social question of our time.” The German construction sector is stuck in a bottleneck due to constantly increasing demand and a lack of materials and workers. The Federal GdW Association estimates that around 80,000 new social housing and 60,000 new affordable rental housing are needed each year, and especially large expanding cities cannot offer that rate of growth. The CDU offer focuses on giving the sector facilities to “build, build and build”, in the words of its candidate, Armin Laschet, while the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz wants to set a target of 100,000 social housing units a year and a moratorium of five years in which they could not raise the prices of the rents in the new contracts. Pensions The other major social issue is retirement pensions, which face a serious financing problem of demographic origin. Her management is so controversial that Merkel’s last grand coalition left her out of the negotiations and for this reason Germany is years behind. The expert commission advises from 2025 on a broker of between 44% and 49% of salary after 45 years of contributions and a contribution rate between 20% and 24%. As happened at the beginning of the century with Agenda 2010, such reform can only be carried out by left-wing parties without the country taking to the streets. Debt and investment There has rarely been so much agreement between economists and politicians: Germany has to invest hundreds of billions of euros. Dilapidated gyms, prehistoric airports, broken school bathrooms, bridges in danger of collapse, entire urban centers … and above all digitization, a process in which the country suffers a considerable delay. Most of these investments are the responsibility of the Bundesländer, but the new federal government will have to abide by and for this to rethink the policy of ‘zero deficit’ that was Merkel’s flag and the brake on the debt imposed by the German Constitution. EU and NATO The profile of the new government coalition will also have a notable impact on international stages, although the three major parties have campaigned in the center of the board. Germany is very likely to lean more towards financial solidarity in Europe with social democrats and greens than with conservatives and liberals. Scholz is open to a reform of the Stability Pact, Eurobonds and further integration steps in the banking union. He is even thinking of European unemployment insurance and would like to exchange unanimous votes for more pragmatic majorities in the Council. The CDU advocates for Defense agreements that make the EU more independent on security matters. But where the international position of Germany can tremble the most is in NATO if the far-left party Die Linke or with the participation of the Greens, who are against the participation of the German Army in missions abroad and to refuse to spend 2% of GDP on weapons as required by the Alliance. Immigration Merkel’s big unfinished business is a European solution to immigration. Although cooperation with third countries that host refugees as close as possible to their points of origin has increased, there is a lack of a fair distribution agreement within European territory and this lack is the cause of serious problems on the Aegean islands, in Italy. in Lampedusa and in Spain in the Canary Islands and the enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla. In addition, new hot zones are emerging such as the border with Belarus. The new German government will have to give a new approach to the problem within the EU, attractive enough for countries like Austria or Poland to jump on the solution bandwagon, and rethink agreements like the ones the EU has with Turkey.


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