Four months after Angela Merkel won a fourth term as chancellor of Germany, her allies have announced they finally expect to form a governing coalition this weekend, which will spare the nation a potential political collapse. At Religion & Liberty Transtatlantic, Mark Royce removes the reader’s uncertainty about this confusing situation, as Merkel’s putatively Christian and free market party prepares to align itself with its more secular, socialist competitor.
The two parties have already enacted important economic, environmental, and immigration policies to cement their alliance.
They have agreed to a more modest climate change proposal to cut carbon emissions by 55 percent no later than 2030. They plan to hike the paycheck withholdings that fund the nation’s pension system for the aged, rising to 20 percent of a worker’s salary. And this week they agreed to accept 1,000 migrants a month who are family members of migrants with “subsidiary” status (those not granted full asylum).
What else will the coalition mean for the future of Germany?
Royce, the assistant professor of international relations at NOVA-Annandale and author of The Political Theology of European Integration, explains the history of Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU):
Conceived by the devout Catholic lawyer and first postwar chancellor Dr. Konrad Adenauer, its purpose was to unite all the believing and practicing Christians of Germany within a new democratic regime, abjuring both the Nazi past and the Communist alternative. Its distinctive doctrine of the “social market economy” (soziale Marktwirtschaft) encourages free enterprise and permits capitalism to operate within the ethical framework of democratic Catholicism; and this approach indisputably contributed to the economic resurrection of Germany during the 1950s under economics minister Dr. Ludwig Erhard.
That outlook, even with a marked tolerance for economic intervention, contrasts with the views of its would-be coalition partner, the Social Democratic Party (SDP), “the ‘established’ socialist party of Germany,” which:
holds that the nationalization of the primary means of production will somehow result in sufficient public funds to satisfy every basic human need, and once those needs are met, true democracy will somehow follow. “The German Social Democratic Party,” its current platform (Oct., 2007) states, “fought for workers’ rights, developed the social welfare state, and together with the trade unions it enabled disdained proletarians to become self-confident state citizens with equal rights” (7). In accordance with the Marxist conception of history, the SPD holds that the working classes shall serve as the messianic harbinger of a more just world order; and it, therefore, advocates workers’ rights, the welfare state, such “free” public goods as education and medicine, and resistance to any imperialist tendencies.
Not only does Royce analyze these two parties’ views on economics, the EU, the environment, and other hot-button issues of the day, but he describes each of the Bundestag’s parties’ views, rendering their political philosophy discernible to readers on both sides of the Atlantic.
(Photo: Angela Merkel, with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, left, and Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz, right, looking to his left. Photo credit: Erlebis Europa. Public domain.)