tv Quadriga - Merkel Under Pressure How Stable Is Germany Deutsche Welle November 24, 2017 5:30am-6:01am CET
and a very warm welcome indeed to quadriga coming to you from the heart and what a week it has been in german politics with the country plunged into an unprecedented period of uncertainty and upheaval they say after the dramatic breakdown of talks to form a new coalition government that in turn dealt what seemed to be a major blow to angela merkel's hopes of pressing ahead with a fourth term in office fresh elections now look to be the likeliest option and that means it could be months before europe's leading nation has a functioning government so our question on this edition of course is medical under pressure how stable is germany and to discuss that question i'm joined in the studio by three astute observers of german politics beginning with matthew carney snake who is politico's chief europe correspondent he says germany will remain stable with or without a macro what this crisis shows is how mature germany's democracy has become. also
with us is judy dempsey senior fellow at carnegie europe and editor in chief of the strategic europe blog judy believes that germany is europe's newest problem the collapse of coalition talks in berlin will have serious repercussions for the rest of the u. and the woman of concern for hundreds of right opinion editor with spiegel newspaper and a contributing writer for the new york times says that germany is not turning into weimar that's not just as well but there is she cautions and you this is dame for compromise in this country that is deeply worrying and it's not. too deep to thank you all for being with us here with me here today in the court quadriga studio and let me begin with you have just referred to the new york times the new york times as spoken of germany's crisis it is to an extent your newspaper how do you assess the gravity of the crisis i think just begin american terms there are still enough adults in germany to manage this crisis and i think somebody is going to come
around eventually so i don't think it goes very deep but what i am worried about is the political culture and the political culture and the disdain for compromise that we see still fit with the political system that is based on compromise so in the mid term i am pretty much worried that i think we're going to solve this crisis yet judy it's very interesting a short termism has come to categorize a german politics country even though tense america has been a part of if you're going to be something that's right but you saw even even going to start of the coalition talks everybody is trying to get in front of the cameras and we can do this we can give that but i think and as i think the idea of the of the of it a culture of consensus and compromise is giving a way to perhaps political opportunism. well i actually disagree that that's a bad thing i think it is happening but i think it could be it could be a good thing for germany because there are a lot of people over the past eight years over the past twelve years even said that
you know these big parties in germany have become much too similar to one another it's very difficult for voters to distinguish between the s.p.d. the social democrats and miracles party the christian democrats and so forth and what we saw over the weekend with the collapse of these talks is that there's a party out there that looked at this potential coalition and came to the conclusion that they couldn't in good conscience continue on with that if you take christian winter the leader of the free democrats at his word and i have no reason not to so i think this kind of soul searching now about the future of germany's consensus driven model might be a little bit overdone it the stage. maybe sort of. now i have to think out of the box because if you live here you get used to this consensus you get just this feeling of a certain muddling through actually because over the last couple of years leaving aside the foreign policy the domestic agenda is minimal there is very little happening and there's a kind of fatigue and also i think an intellectual for take and the voters they
were wondering well what is governing about. what kind of the various political parties offer us maybe this explains some of the support for the far right wing alternative the third germany i'm surprised how sanguine you all are about the current situation the crisis what crisis you to be saying i mean i wrote down a list of words that are being used by your fellow journalists to describe the crisis gridlock deadlock meltdown or political limbo matthew from your current quote at the beginning of the show you seem to be suggesting that it's an opportunity for germany to move on to a higher level of mature democracy a little thing less yeah i mean there is political limbo but this also means that germany is becoming a normal country i mean if you look around europe at the sort of length of time it takes many countries to form a government you don't need to go to the length of. belgium which i think to over over a year the last time but you know it's not out of the ordinary to have a minority government if you look at denmark they have a long tradition of that there this is
a normal democratic process and just because germany has been dominated by these two big parties since world war two doesn't mean that democracy is falling apart you now have more voices in the mix you've got the far right in the mix and people can think about that what they will but you also have the liberals coming back into the bundestag it's going to be a livelier discussion and i think we've seen that in the first sessions of the buddhist talk over the past several weeks it's more interesting to be honest it's real debate people are making you know their points and you can tell the difference between say a call on the one hand and somebody. saying oh yeah there's you know me saying i love. i with you that it was boring for you because we've had two parties that seem to get along pretty well also personality wise and they had a contract and they sort of very in a very german way went about it and sort of. the bullet point live but
then when you look at why he blew off those coalition talks it's not i mean the most contested issue in these cut coalition talks was the refugee policy and apparently the greens really came around and gave the f.t.p. and the christian social union very much so i don't think he really made it about issues it was about strategy and that's what it's depressing about it that he would not take on the rest of the responsibility to form a government in hard times just so the f.t.p. gets a couple of percentage points plus in the next elections or maybe in four years before we continue let's just go back a little bit in time because this all began this chain of events began with the collapse of those coalition talks that we've mentioned perhaps just perhaps they would do from the very start it was certainly never going to be easy to square the circle and bring together four parties with very different political cultures let's have a quick look at how the talks evolved. the german parliamentary association behind
the reichstag in berlin for weeks the eyes of germany had been focused on its balcony and reading lips and thoughts has become a kind of national sport. from the initial talks and got the impression there is a willingness to find common ground. if in. at some point everyone had to get down to business the shutting down senseless deadlines is not a compromise. if you can't shake this is a question that these gentlemen have no real desire to negotiate constructively and successfully if not i should say so. the frustration grew as did the weariness. if i just fall over from exhaustion there's no point in continuing. is the idea of a three way coalition gone with the wind.
you're shaking your head well i want. my initial comment was how germany's proceed from outside and i think what's happening in germany is extremely bad for the european union because the leader has been waiting for i'm going to deliver has been the president of france and he's given two major speeches about europe and those speeches about europe have been absolutely linked to the german the fact that i'm one of those speeches came two days after the struggling election that's one speech it was a very disciplined speech was very important because. gave me something that the big siemens deal with china a big frankly german joint venture deal but he was saying. we need the german relationship we need to be much tighter and he said i'm going to come over colvin give me your thoughts about your opinion got your government together.
i'm going to reckon he's never given a serious speech about europe and back home was beijing and now you have to wait a bit more his his options are limited if you think that those options and then it is his options are limited for his big and this is planned for europe. well i mean i think it's true that there is some disappointment on the french side and certainly in brussels and around europe to a degree although i would also say that the expectations of what medical would have been able to have done with this three way coalition with the liberals and the greens might have been a little bit high elsewhere in europe because parts of merkel's own party were never going to agree and are never going to agree to the kind of broad integration plans that micro has outlined not to mention the free democrats who are totally against many of if not all of what he has laid out and when we interviewed lintner recently he compared the macro plan to soviet style economics so i mean there there is. well it might be it might might seem
a little bit over the over the top but it doesn't it doesn't show really a deep willingness to compromise with france on these issues i do think that they would have to reach some sort of compromise somewhere and i still think that will that will happen and it is certainly true that the europeans are very worried about this not just because of my call but just to keep sort of the daily business of the e.u. running without germany there without a government in germany that has real digital busy it's going to be very difficult on all kinds of fronts from defense to the euro to the expansion of the e.u. and so forth just to keep things running so i think that is a real issue and maybe that will give president steinmeyer in his discussions with s.p.d. leader martin short some leverage in playing this european card and saying this isn't just about germany it's about europe and taking responsibility for for for the e.u. here. just like to go back just to mention christian a couple of times and matthew. you've indicated that you believe that always of his
motives were honorable and pulling the plug on the coalition talks we have no reason to believe otherwise there are many of those however who asked the question is christiane clinton who has suddenly become a sort of a relatively central figure in german politics is he charismatic or is he a rabble rouser is here is he a modernizer or is he. another wild fringe populist. i don't think is a fringe populist but he's certainly an opportunist and i think what what you have to see is that linda took his career and his very young age and all this energy to rebuilding a party from scratch that was kicked out of the one is talk in two thousand and thirteen and was basically at the point of vanishing into the delta and that's what i really give him credit for is meant he took up the task and he went for it and he did it excellent job on that and it was a great campaign and he got the party back into the bundestag and i can completely
understand that he does he's afraid of his. to crumble again so that's what i what i get i give him credit for but yet now he's at the point where he's in the center of what's happening and what's important to the world and so he now has to take on a different perspective and he can stay in to sort of the party perspective onto what is happening in germany right now that's it and also he really i think he's sincere about this the f.t.p. was a terrible junior coalition partner in uncle america's second coalition it didn't deliver on anything and it became a party of of lobbyists and of especially bush for interest and i think at the back of it in his mind is i don't want to say the voters again and actually germany is desperate need of change absolutely i think we need to move on a little bit now and just have a look at the when we talk about change the big question is what happens next and there are really three options for how this crisis might evolve let's have a look at those free options. first scenario merkel
forms a minority government together with the greens or the free democrats post-war germany has never had a minority government the downside a minority government would have to build majorities case by case second scenario the grand coalition. but the social democrats chairman says no he prefers the third scenario new elections the downside a long period of uncertainty with no real prospect of the vote turning out any differently which scenario is the most likely. now let's begin with the scenario of a minority government how promising is that for germany's future for europe's future we're going to what you're both. i think that europe's future not the best option but for a germany it will be an experiment worth trying maybe though i'm not really in
favor it because i think the ability is more important right now but what matthew said about germany sort of. falling asleep over the grand coalition it would be really interesting to see a government that really has to work on issues that has to find new majorities on each of the issues it wants to realize so that would really energize the political debate and maybe. also be a good thing with regard to the fringe parties that we've seen springing up maybe also in part for this sort of or done with politics. however matthew there are those i was reading an academic the other day from kill university saying that germans don't favor minority government because he reminds them too much of weimar but also it doesn't promise stability well i doubt most germans living can actually remember weimar at this stage it doesn't have to be as stable as weimar was and if it only lasts for a couple of years that might not be a bad thing especially for
a party like the s.p.d. which would have time to regroup to rebuild itself it's in complete disarray right now and its prospects if there were a new election are or are pretty dim to be honest so i think that given the options out there for the s.p.d. in particular which has three bad options going back into a grand coalition a minority government or new elections they might decide the minority government with the social democrats would be a minority. if the social democrats got into bed with the with the conservatives until americans considered and you've got a grand coalition there the numbers add up all right and they have made clear that they don't want to do that again this was the government we've had over the past four years and still haven't and a caretaker basis and for various reasons they feel that they were voted out the last time they only got twenty percent they lost a huge portion of their voters and so they don't think that they have the legitimacy to enter another government and there is something to that and another
important point there though is that their membership really is against a lot of rank and file people in the s.p.d. do not want to go into a coalition again although i think many of their m.p.'s would welcome the opportunity and many of their form for former ministers and current ministers would like the opportunity to serve again but now i think a grand coalition so debilitating for germany we have to remember i think the figure is i'm just doing the math in my head but i think the grand coalition the parties that made up the grand coalition that lost out at this last election as you were mentioning they lost fourteen percent together that. you know it's very high but where the social democrats will be moved to saying can be no debate no discussion about migration you don't think about kosovo only take a deep breath and realize and the social democrats would be decimated in the next election if they were if it was a bad enough this past election to be completely destroyed in the next election and so just interesting new elections and. let one just know the outcome
i reckon by going to elections damaged goods in some ways i think corruption is a minority government give it a try just politics a self-fulfilling prophecy it's also it's going to just going to disappear. give it a try and might be very very interesting so your vote is for the minority government what or what or what about fresh elections on a would do so to that prospect i don't think it would change that much i mean if we look at the surveys right now if it of course there's going to be some movement and the liberals seem to profit from their step but i think it would still pretty much be around same figures that we've seen in the last election and for. a coalition of the liberals and the christian democrats to be realizable they would have to gain some six or seven percentage points and i don't see that right now so we'd have pretty much the same situation with two possibilities the grand coalition or
another john mica coalition and then i think it will be much more likely that we see another grand coalition because there has been so categorical about what he did and this is what he stands for and i don't think he's going to come up with the first the key player of the moment in all of this is we've mentioned him already is germany's federal president for former foreign minister very familiar face many people he's been he's he's had everybody round to his residence here in berlin both you polus he's given them a smack on the legs and send them back out there and said negotiate make it work you know so that could still happen possibly jamaica. i can't i can't if you look at the gray dawn it was quite radical for the four parties agreed on i mean the phone and the coalition talks was actually the christian social union in bavaria they're facing elections next next year there's a huge power struggle going on inside the very they're having a special meeting this weekend and they were just so obstructionist you wonder i
mean they were they were looking at german politics and political interests and status in the e.u. they were looking at the provincial interest. though i mean i think it's worth remembering that. the greens are also pretty far apart on a lot of issues and the greens in particular who won a lot of concessions during these talks but the greens were basically in the eighty's born out of opposition to the c.d.u. and to the f.t.p. so they were never going to be easy partners and i think that in the end is really . despite you know the various tactics that might have been at play there i think that really is the basic problem and that hasn't gone away which is why linton has said now that he wouldn't you know entertained going back to that is going to it's interesting i mean there's not the greens and the conservatives they seem such an likely bedfellows but they have they do get along in one of the most important states in germany book. and secondly they're going to say divide it in any case but
then on the conservatives moved extremely to the left in these negotiations over asylum policy the greens moved also in sending back asylum seekers to safe countries like we'll continue to i mean there was movement there but the problem at the greens is that they are so it just. ok just to reduce or no for another word on first elections and i think so just like you for all of us to map out how long if that is the avenue we go down how long is it going to take before we get there before there's light at the end of the tunnel and we have a new government well this is a big problem because it would take several. it probably wouldn't happen until april maybe late april sometime around easter is what is being discussed now and in the meantime you would continue to have this limbo with this caretaker government and i think the other factor here is that the german electorate doesn't want new elections and i think they would be very angry if as anna said they ended up having to go back to the polls in the spring ended up with
a very similar result and then you would have to re enter this whole phase of coalition building which would take another couple of months or you would have a government probably until next summer at the earliest and this is where this wonderful long german word politique said there are awesome heights comes into play exactly yeah the people being deceived this enchanted disgruntled with the process of politics and it might drive people to the far right exactly it might play into the hands on a of the alternative for germany who would hardly spoken about the mention in the discussion well we don't know yet because it seems like aiming at the electorate that the f.t. addressing to and which is sort of a nationalist. electorate and these national liberal vote is what what he's trying to address our and he would certainly do so if there were another kemi he would go for it much more than he already did in the campaign that we've seen in the summer so i don't know maybe it would be the other way around and some of the f.t.p. voters would go to the f.t.
but if that for the case i thought you had a ban on assault is ok so i think really wanting. to stop a skeptic party in government. i know it's right and it is an initially so i think you know it's chaotic and i think that many macaw and many others in france are very relieved that we don't have a government that contains the f.t.p. so. or the f.t.p. certainly doesn't so it doesn't see itself as years ago i mean they they and this is one of the things that listeners pointed out he felt that he was being personally smirched by the greens during the talks because they suggested that he was years getting certainly the history of the party is not that of a euro skeptic party given you know its support for the euro and other things over judy was running out of time and i would just like to talk about i'm going to yeah down but not i don't. i'm going to make a list is there is a fantastic politician but she said two major bills now one is the election result
of september and now the collapse the coalition talks and we can certainly under meccas no longer saleable but so her politics has come back with a book tell us it is no graciousness in politics and matthew it's interesting that your quote at the top of the show i was very intrigued by germany will remain stable with or without. well i think what you're hinting i mean that you enter this phase now if we do move towards a new elections here with this limbo a lot can happen in this in this period of uncertainty and we've seen challenges to her before from within her party and you know who knows what could happen over the next six months there could be various challenges to her she may decide that she doesn't want to run again after all no no nobody nobody really knows and certainly if there is a new election and her party does worse than it did this last time which was already pretty bad compared to the two thousand and thirteen election i think she would definitely have to go is the woman sometimes called the leader of the free
world the new or the true leader of the free world and if she was. not she won't be challenge from within and how do you know i think because she has to run again in elections she might lose another cup. percentage points it already was the worst result they've ever had so i don't i don't think people are going to let her do that and let her fail more and then maybe challenge her as sometime next year and that's what i think but of course the damage is done to the image the international image of america ok on a scale we were the was the question we wanted to ask at the beginning of the show is how stable is germany judy on a on a scale of one to ten where one is rock solid in toto is a house of cards where it's germany at this point in time. that's pretty close to rock solid and i think larry's always f.t. and how many refugees something to stories every single day rock solid rock so much time to have to have germany available the other the of the country without tectonic so messy what you say. nine. i don't believe i don't know what our
viewers are going to forget but what i hear about i'm going to have over me this summer is seven point two percent about this is the final word of the show this evening well today thanks very much for joining us if you've given you plenty of food for which i hope we have join us next week come back to quandary by the show's .
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i grew up in a white family in a white neighborhood it was definitely a challenge. she decided to put me up for adoption. so. the main thing was to keep your head down and your mouth shut of course of the phrase like this i could never completely disappear if you see all of these. stereotypes about it because it hurts you. do something for your country but you're still the black guy. afro germany starting december tenth d.w. .