by Ralph Schoellhammer
Thursday, 3
November 2022
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13:00

The energy debate is ripping Germany’s coalition apart

All parties are pursuing their own ideological agenda
by Ralph Schoellhammer
A banner depicting Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Climate minister Robert Habeck

The Austrian economist Joseph Schumpeter once wrote that “the first thing a man will do for his ideals is lie.” No sentence is a better embodiment of the ongoing farce around the continuation of Germany’s remaining three nuclear power plants. 

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine there has been a debate as to whether Berlin should postpone the 2011 plan to exit nuclear energy, a power source that in 2021 was still providing around 13% of Germany’s electricity. Even the Green Party, with its general suspicion towards everything that is not wind or solar powered, felt it necessary to at least commission a study regarding the feasibility of keeping nuclear power online.

Or so it seemed. New documents uncovered by a German newspaper have revealed that in early March Vice-Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Robert Habeck apparently issued an examination of the country’s nuclear power plants without even talking to its operators. 

As some have suspected from the beginning, there never was a real interest in an objective assessment, but rather a desire to preemptively end the debate. After continued warnings of a worsening energy crunch, including the possibility of rolling blackouts, an agreement was reached to extend the lifetime of two nuclear power plants until April 2023. Nonetheless, the Green fibbing on the issue is deepening a rift in Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s coalition government. 

The smallest member of Germany’s three-party coalition is increasingly worried that being part of a government with strong Left-leaning tendencies could be electoral suicide. In the state elections of Lower Saxony on 9th October, the FDP fell short of the 5% electoral threshold and will no longer be represented in the regional parliament, an ominous sign for a party represented in the federal government. In the 2013 general election they were ousted from the Bundestag, having been in a coalition government with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats since 2009. 

Understandably, many in the party fear a repeat of history, forcing leader Christian Lindner to sharpen its profile and make the FDP a louder voice in the public discourse. In a move that caught both the Greens and the Social Democrats by surprise, Lindner announced his support for an immediate beginning of fracking on German soil, a topic that has been a perennial taboo across the political divide. 

While it seems unlikely to happen anytime soon, it has become clear that Germany is increasingly governed by a coalition in name only, where every party is pushing its own ideological agenda. Even Chancellor Scholz has no problem ignoring his partners on significant matters. Just a few days ago he rammed through the sale of 25% of one of Hamburg harbour’s port terminals to the Chinese state-owned COSCO shipping conglomerate. This went against the advice of his own ministries and the European Commission

As happens with most increasingly dysfunctional coalitions, the only common ground can be found in an expansion of public spending. In Germany’s case this would be the massive promise to pump up to 5% of its GDP, or €200bn, into the economy in order to soften the fallout from rising energy prices. This doesn’t bode well for German stability, seeing as recent polls show that the government has already lost its majority. 

Officially, new federal elections are not supposed to take place before the autumn of 2025. Given growing tensions within the government and the worsening economic outlook for 2023, though, one should prepare for the possibility of a new election much sooner.

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Matt M
Matt M
24 days ago

Just a few days ago he rammed through the sale of 25% of one of Hamburg harbour’s port terminals to the Chinese state-owned COSCO shipping conglomerate. This went against the advice of his own ministries and the European Commission

What is up with SPD politicians doing shady deals with hostile, totalitarian foreign powers? First Schroder, now Scholz!

Last edited 24 days ago by Matt M
Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
24 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Who pays?

A. M.
A. M.
23 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Economy. You cant eat high minded ideals. Money needs to come in and these shady deals is how Germanys churns for itself and EU.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  A. M.

Who would you prefer to be owner? Chinese with their views on supporting the poor or say Rees-Mogg who is more likely to eat the poor ala J.Swift..

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

Nobody else has any money! Can’t be picky chosing customers when you’ve only got the one! Personally I don’t see a problem. The Chinese buyer is subject to German laws and German scrutiny.. Sure half of the UK is foreign owned: even it’s vital life-sustaining utilities fgs!
As for lying: who ever heard of a politician that didn’t lie? Ask BJ!

michael harris
michael harris
21 days ago
Reply to  Matt M

CDU politicians also. Merkel/Nordstream2.

Brian Villanueva
Brian Villanueva
24 days ago

We’ve seen this story in Germany, Italy, and Israel recently: 1) a ideologically broad coalition is formed with the sole goal of unseating the current leader; 2) this coalition wins but can’t actually govern since it doesn’t agree on anything of substance; 3) voters give up and bring the first rascals back into power, often with larger majorities and more ideological parties than before.

Israel and Italy have been through this whole cycle now (Bibi winning his election yesterday.) It sounds like Germany is on the same path.

Steve Murray
Steve Murray
23 days ago

There’s every chance something similar could occur in the UK at the next election, with a Labour/SNP/LibDem/Greens coalition which quickly finds itself unable to function.

Adam Bacon
Adam Bacon
23 days ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

We can but hope. Even Corbyn and Farage offering alternative alternatives to the technocratic globalist elite would be a start…

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  Adam Bacon

Why not.. though I can’t quite see those two in a coalition can you?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  Steve Murray

Do you mean “…compared to the Tories”? Ha ha.. very funny!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
23 days ago

Great!! more Bibi And Meloni please?!

Stephen Walsh
Stephen Walsh
24 days ago

There is no need for an election. The CDU/CSU, Free Democrats and AfD already have a majority in the Bundestag between them. But for as long as the AfD are kept in the cold, there is effectively no alternative to the current arrangement, as based on current polling the Christian Democrats and Free Democrats do not have the numbers between them to supplant the Social Democrats and the Greens, and certainly would not if the FDP fell below the 5% threshold. So things will drift on as they are until the money runs out. There is a great deal of ruin in a nation, as many Europeans are finding out, and South Americans have long known.

Last edited 23 days ago by Stephen Walshe
chris Barton
chris Barton
23 days ago
Reply to  Stephen Walsh

Other than the AFD, all the other parties agree on pretty much everything, with the greens just being more vocal with their mad policy ideas.

Last edited 23 days ago by chris Barton
Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  chris Barton

Quite like the UK? ..and Ireland for that matter.. Tweedledum + Tweedkedee + the Mad Hatter!

Aaron James
Aaron James
23 days ago

sale of 25% of one of Hamburg harbour’s port terminals to the Chinese state-owned”

”whether Berlin should postpone the 2011 plan to exit nuclear energy,”

Nordstream 1 and 2

Immigration.

State Suicide; addicted to self harm – someone stick a naloxone shot in this O.D. patient fast….

chris Barton
chris Barton
24 days ago

Hopes and Dreams again meeting reality.

Paul Walsh
Paul Walsh
23 days ago

I enjoyed listening to the recent John Gray interview. He has moved towards supporting proportional representation as a means of breaking the UK logjam. It appears that Germany have a similar problem even with proportional representation. Maybe until the electorate really bump into the (very) cold hard reality, we wont get a sensible way forward. I think we need a pro energy party.

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  Paul Walsh

Why not indeed.. pro energy and pro extinction.. it’ll have to be extremely pro Rwanda’ as well as the 6 billion scortched and drowned will be heading for the Temperate Zone..

Thomas Wagner
Thomas Wagner
23 days ago

In Germany’s case this would be the massive promise to pump up to 5% of its GDP, or €200bn, into the economy in order to soften the fallout from rising energy prices. 

In what universe is this going to work, even theoretically?

Liam O'Mahony
Liam O'Mahony
22 days ago
Reply to  Thomas Wagner

Money pumped into the poorest makes its way to the rich step by step. Every step means economic activity and taxable income. It’s a no brainer though distasteful to those who despise the poor.
Money to the poor is spent quickly and locally. Money to the rich is stashed abroad or spent on foreign luxury goods (French yachts, Greek islands, Italian supercars, Caribbean villas, world cruises etc.) ie not a penny goes to GB ltd. Ergo no economic activity and no taxable income! Duh..

Richard Barrett
Richard Barrett
22 days ago

I recall huge numbers of young Germans in the 1970s having “Atomkraft-nein danke” patches on their anoraks. These are now the core green voters. Any embrace of nuclear power by Die Grunen would be too much for those voters to tolerate, and if the party attempted to do so, it would be destroyed.