"It's really about something right now"

"It's really about something right now" 

Business breakfast with the head of the Federal Chancellery 

Text Philipp Zettl | Policy Officer


Recession, Russia's war of aggression, the energy crisis, inflation, high interest rates - and the task of the century to make Germany climate-neutral is looming over everything. How is the traffic light coalition doing in the face of this multitude of challenges? At the VBKI business breakfast, Wolfgang Schmidt unsurprisingly focused on the successes of the three-party coalition in front of around 100 members and friends of the VBKI: Three LNG terminals had been built in record time and dependence on Russian gas had been reduced, the "double whammy" of electricity and gas price brakes had successfully combated the price explosion, the Skilled Immigration Act had created one of the most modern immigration regimes in the world and the acceleration pact between the federal and state governments had laid the foundations for Germany's speed in approval procedures, said the Minister of the Chancellery.

"We don't have a recession and will experience growth this year," said Schmidt with conviction. He warned "not to talk the delicate little plant to pieces now". The 49 billion euros from the climate and transformation fund, which would be added to the 58 billion euros in the budget, would also help here.

We are not in recession and will experience growth this year

Wolfgang Schmidt, Head of the Federal Chancellery



But why is the ongoing dispute between the coalition partners overshadowing any reports of success? "I think the wrangling is an expression of the fact that something is really at stake right now," says the Federal Minister. In addition, for the first time in the history of the Federal Republic, the government is supported by three parties, so there is no experience to build on: "Angela Merkel, one of the most gifted politicians of our time, has not even managed to start coalition negotiations with the FDP and the Greens." However, Olaf Scholz's often demanded word of power would not be a solution - the coalition agreement would stipulate the principle of unanimity. The chancellor could therefore only act as a "couples therapist".

With a view to the 2025 federal elections, Schmidt was positive despite the negative survey results and quoted US President Joe Biden with "Don't compare me with the almighty, compare me with the alternative". There are currently poor approval ratings in many industrialized countries despite good economic data. The upcoming election would not only be about Olaf Scholz versus Friedrich Merz, but also about who they wanted to govern with. In all likelihood, at least two of the current governing parties would be represented in the government again, so the dispute would continue. He was confident that voters would ultimately prefer to see Olaf Scholz rather than Friedrich Merz as the mediator of the yellow-green differences.


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