Correspondent in Berlin
The last days of the last legislature of Angela Merkel are drawing the end of a significant stage for Germany and for Europe, taking on almost the character of an epilogue. In the latest nation-state debate, Merkel tiptoed over the topical issue, Afghanistan, simply thanking German soldiers for their work, and ignored questions from the opposition to focus on a review of everything. that he has done at the head of the government for the last 16 years. The objective of this review was not, however, to boast of a positive balance, although it certainly could have done so. The meaning of the presentation of the string of achievements was revealed at the end of the list, when based on it he concluded that “it does not matter, it is not indifferent who governs in Germany” and he launched to ask for the vote for Armin Laschet, his successor at the head of the CDU, in the generals of September 26.
After reluctantly committing herself to the election campaign, Merkel had so far appeared at a couple of unremarkable rallies, certainly nothing like asking for a vote from the Bundestag speaker’s platform, unusual audacity and one that has drawn an angry backlash from the Bundestag. rest of the parties. The deputies shouted and booed, claiming that “this is not the place” and “this is not the point here”, to which Merkel responded, resolutely: “I have been part of this plenary session for thirty years And believe me, it is these matters that we are really dealing with here. In her speech, a quarrelsome Merkel has come to light who, in addition to boasting her own achievements, has attacked head-on the hitherto Vice Chancellor of her government and Finance Minister, Olaf Scholz, a Social Democratic candidate. He has alluded to the necessary left-wing coalition in the event that Scholz wins the elections and has drawn the colors for some recent statements in which he mentioned “guinea pigs” in relation to vaccinated citizens. He recalled that what is decided when doing economic policy and fiscal policy is how many Germans will or will not have a job and ended up calling voters, “in a context of uncertainty due to the pandemic, international terrorism, digitization and the emerging power of China, vote for Armin Laschet as a guarantee of security.
Scholz, far from entering the rag of his accusations and also leaving aside the history of Afghanistan, has preferred the tone of a statesman and began his speech by thanking Chancellor Merkel “for all the fruitful and successful joint work in recent years ». Installed in the image of the perfect successor to Merkel, with whom he is doing a lot of damage in the polls to the candidate Laschet, he has promised that, if he wins the elections there will be no more closures due to the pandemic and that its economic policy will target growth. It has disqualified the conservative promises of tax cuts as “not bankable” and in return has offered an increase in the Kindergeld (money that German families receive from the time children are born until they become independent from the family nucleus) and the minimum interprofessional wage up to 12 euros per hour. It has also offered to build 400,000 homes a year, although it has been open to legislate brakes on rising rent prices, and guaranteed dual training places for all 16-year-old students who choose this route. He presents himself as the follower of Merkel and certainly is when he affirms that “the fight against the climate must be carried out as an industrial policy; we have to do it with the industry, not against it.
As far as we are closer, it is worth highlighting his Europeanist discourse. Scholz has championed a strong Europe and sovereign, always on the side of NATO and the US. “We will do everything possible to increase our defense capabilities,” he winked at the Alliance, and assured that Germany will continue to participate in international missions. “There will be more decisions to send German soldiers abroad, from the conviction that we are not alone and that we want to continue defending peace and freedom.” He has also promised that in the next legislature Germany will take another step towards European integration. He has not mentioned Eurobonds, but it can be sensed that the shots are going there. “Germany is a great country in the center of Europe that cannot be left out and that must take responsibility for advancing integration,” he said.