News from Feb 01, 2018
The results of last year´s election in Germany have led to unprecedented difficulties for the country to build a new government and prolonged coalition talks. At first, negotiations to form a coalition of the conservative CDU/CSU alliance with the pro-business FDP and the environmentalist Green Party collapsed. Then three main options arose: renewal of a “grand coalition” of Conservatives and Social Democrats (SPD), a minority government, or new elections.
Four months later, Prof. Segbers points out, even though the important issues of pension, healthcare, and infrastructure are being discussed, talks about the continuously growing global and international shifts are being slowly swept under the rug, which he calls “borderline political autism”.
Klaus Segbers then outlines the importance for Germany to define its key interests in the European context, especially policies of stabilization, fiscal restraint and institutional changes on the national and EU level, and careful assessments regarding the mutualization of government bonds and national debt. Germany must take into consideration that Russia will not play by the rules and China is on its way to establishing a stronger authoritarian regime domestically through the ‘social credit point system’, but another worrisome trend is the Chinese strategy of making international companies bow to special Chinese rules. The anticipated tax cut in the US is expected to play an important role in the global competition in winning investors. There are also unresolved questions around appropriation of personal data. Automatization and digitalization will change the current labor markets significantly, and lead to the loss or modification of millions of jobs in Europe. All these factors and changes require Germany to take positions, most of which are missing so far.
All in all, Klaus Segbers asks the important question how will Germany react to all the aforementioned and potentially destabilizing global disruptions, and argues that further coalition negotiations should revolve around the stand that Germany will take in the current global context, because the longer the political establishment avoids global realities, the stronger the support for populist parties will get.
Klaus Segbers holds the Chair of Political Science at the Institute for East European Studies and is professor for International Relations at the Otto-Suhr-Institute for Political Science (OSI) at FU Berlin. His academic expertise focuses on Foreign Policy Analysis and International Relations.