Germany: Predictions for 2022 Another pandemic year and climate plans

One year later, and after more than one hundred million doses of the vaccine, the data on infections is still much higher than then. – All of Germany is one big epidemic – he said Lothar Wieler, head of the Robert Koch Institute in mid-November last year.

Compulsory vaccination may even be compulsory soon to induce more people to vaccinate. It would be a gross breach of that promise. Both the previous one Chancellor Angela Merkelas well as new German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and FDP leader Christian Lindner until a few weeks ago, they ruled out compulsory vaccinations.

Society is divided by pandemic activities. The dividing line is mainly between the majority that favors vaccination and the minority that rejects it.

After 16 years of rule by the CDU under the leadership of Angeli Merkel the new government of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals wants to spread the spirit of optimism. – Dare to make more progress – this is the title of the coalition agreement in reference to the 1969 motto of the SPD chancellor Willy Brandt “Dare to more democracy”.

What does the coalition mean by this? First of all, put emphasis on greater climate protection thanks to renewable energy sources and, if possible, an early withdrawal from coal as early as 2030.

Political scientist Florian Hartleb emphasizes in particular the “quick agreement” of the coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. – In contrast to the CDU / CSU election campaign, team players operated here. A certain atmosphere of the breakthrough is thus palpable – he notes.

We will see what people think about the policy of the new German government in the four federal elections next year: Saarland, Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia in spring and Lower Saxony in autumn. In line with previous polls, after a long period of decline, Social Democrats are expected to continue their recent growth.

In early 2022, the battered CDU hopes that the new party leader, Friedrich Merz, will add wings to it. His election is seen as giving direction to the party’s development. The former chairman of the CDU / CSU parliamentary club ran for party head for the third time. Under his leadership, the CDU is expected to move to the right, deviating from Angela Merkel’s centrist course. Merz is “rather a soloist in the party and will not conjure up a new beginning” – believes political scientist Hartleb.

However, a continuation is to be expected in February, when the highest state office is filled. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier from the SPD expressed his will to serve a second term. His chances are good. So far, there is no other candidate, and the coalition parties have a majority in the Federal Assembly which elects the President of Germany.

When it comes to foreign policy, Germany can shine in 2022 primarily thanks to its presidency in the G7, although glamor is probably the wrong word in escalating crises: Russian aggression against Ukraine and China, which is increasingly making its presence felt in global politics, are just two the main challenges of foreign policy.

In an interview with “Tageszeitung”, the new Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Annalena Baerbock from the Green party referred to Merkel’s policy towards China and suggested a change: “Meaningful silence is not a form of diplomacy in the long run“Baerbock intends to pursue a values-based foreign policy and to raise human rights issues in totalitarian states to a greater extent.

On the other hand German Chancellor Olaf Scholz seems to continue the restrained foreign policy of his predecessor and has made it clear that he will not hand over foreign policy entirely to the head of diplomacy. “There must be cooperation in the world, even with governments that are very different from ours,” ZDF told the station shortly after being sworn in.

In this context, it will be interesting whether the new German government will stand on the side of US President Jo Biden and will take a more confrontational course towards China.

Regarding Russia, Henning Hoff of the German Council on Foreign Relations advises “to use the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline as a leverage against Moscow: not to commission it in the event of aggression against Ukraine.”

In its policy towards China, Germany must “move away from the unnecessarily timid claim that without the Chinese market, German industry will have no future, to a much more strategic policy that will deal with China’s systemic rivalry.”

In turn, political scientist Johannes Varwick of the University of Halle predicts that Baerbock “will soon feel the constraints of the office and the pressure of realpolitik, which may be noticeable in the question of whether it is really possible to adopt human rights as the highest standard for foreign policy action“.

In terms of European policy, the coalition agreement speaks of the long-term goal of the EU as a “European federal state”. Such lofty ideas have not been heard in the EU for a long time.

At the same time, the Berlin coalition is in favor of a relatively liberal asylum and refugee policy, also at the European level.

It turned out how much these issues are already at the end of 2021 in two EU countries that are particularly important for the German government – in France and Poland. Jarosław Kaczyński, PiS leader, said that the policy of the new federal government threatens the sovereignty of European states, which is tantamount to abandoning hegemonic claims.

In France, this reaction is important not only because of the close partnership with Germany, but also because in spring this year. presidential elections will be held there. The most important topic here is the fight against unwanted immigration. French President Emmanuel Macron wants to use the French presidency of the EU over the next six months to secure the EU’s external borders, which is not a priority for the coalition in Berlin. The conservative former EU commissioner, Michel Barnier, called on the French election campaign to regain “sovereignty in all migration matters” and to “no longer allow the Court of Justice of the EU and the European Convention on Human Rights to dictate the appropriate laws.”

On this point, too, the opinions of the two foreign policy experts are different: Hoff considers the “European policy ambitions” of the German government to be not only right but also necessary. – If the EU wants to become more “sovereign” and must, if it wants to survive, it will have no choice but to develop also structurally – claims. Varwick, on the other hand, speaks of the goal of a European federal state set out in the coalition agreement. – It will not be possible due to the realities of European politics. Actually, no one in Europe wants this, he emphasizes. He praises the concept of “servant leadership” in relation to European politics in the coalition agreement. – Because this is what it is all about: taking into account the importance of Germany so as not to provoke defensive reflexes, but to open up the field for action – he believes.

On the global diplomatic scene, Chancellor Angela Merkel played a very important, and even absolutely crucial, role in European politics. Will Olaf Scholz be willing and able to follow in her footsteps?

Henning Hoff attributes to Scholz “prudence and pragmatism focused on finding solutions” as important leadership qualities.

Johannes Varwick believes that, indeed “no one can match Angela Merkel’s experience“but adds that Germany’s political importance is enormous, whatever the chancellor is. And Olaf Scholz” with his unpretentious, balanced way of being is something of a born heir to the chancellor. “

Polish editorial team of Deutsche Welle /Christoph Hasselbach

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