Chancellor Scholz celebrates German unity … while waiting for the political crises at the start of the school year

Posted January 1, 2023, 12:20 p.m

If “no looking back on the year can do without the images of February 24”, marking the “imperialist war of aggression” led by Vladimir Putin, Chancellor Olaf Scholz wants to preserve a new image of Germany from 2022. The one with the “change of the era”, of course, announced this “Zeitenwende” last February, which marked Germany’s new engagement on the international and military stage together with Ukraine. It is also about the “cohesion and strength” of its population, he explains in the vows made on Saint Silvestre.

With his trademark rhetorical minimalism, the German chancellor celebrates a country “where people work and tinker; where everyone pitches in. As such, he highlights the energy savings and the installation of floating terminals for liquefied gas carried out in record time or the help that “29 million volunteers throughout the country” provides for Ukrainian refugees.

All this “makes our country a more humane country”, explains Olaf Scholz, who had promised to “leave no one behind”. What he did with family benefits, tax and energy price caps: “dopplewumms” of 200 billion euros.

Industrial policy in the Ministry of Economy

Satisfied with his record, the chancellor wants to “stay true to the path of last year”. The risk of bifurcations is numerous, however, as the differences are already large between the three parties of the governing coalition on the very path to be followed in 2023.

To the chancellor’s left, the Green Economy Minister, Robert Habeck, is preparing a new industrial policy in response to the US Inflation Reduction Act, which he announced with his colleague Bruno Le Maire. A fund of 177 billion grants between 2023 and 2026 to decarbonize the country has already been launched. From the first quarter of 2023, fifteen-year “climate protection contracts” should be concluded with large companies to facilitate the financing of their energy transition.

The state’s financial involvement in business does not go down well with the finance minister, Venstre Christian Lindner, who is also calling for a “change of era” in the economy, including the abolition of very large subsidies.

Smaller grants according to Finance

Faced with rising energy costs and loss of competitiveness for German companies, “we cannot meet this challenge sustainably with more public money and industrial subsidies,” his ministry writes in a document revealed by the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

Unlike his counterpart in the economy, Christian Linder, pleads to reduce government spending and facilitate foreign investment in Germany. Its program, in line with the orthodoxy of the liberal party, the FDP, calls for, among other things, a “general reduction of income and corporate tax”, the improvement of employee share ownership “from 2023” and the reintroduction of declining balances. depreciation”.

Chancellor Scholz, who ends his wishes on Saturday evening by affirming that “our cohesion is our best asset”, will therefore from the first days of 2023 have his work interrupted in rallying his troops around a common economic project.

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