Germany’s new governing coalition, including the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), the Christian Social Union (CSU) and Social Democratic Party (SPD), came together this week to discuss many of the pressing issues facing Germany at home and abroad. Handelsblatt Global’s Editor-in-Chief Andreas Kluth clues us into these key debates, ranging from diesel bans to Russia, and gives his take on Angela Merkel’s ability to bring Germany’s parties together.
“They’re constantly bickering and fighting, and haven’t been able to agree on any major reform,” says Kluth of the new CDU-SPD coalition. He notes that Merkel’s real job in these talks is to bring the parties together to “drink red wine late into the night and have them be nice to each other,” which Kluth says hasn’t “worked particularly well” thus far. “They have this long laundry list of small things,” he says, “that’s what happens. You are looking for a lowest common denominator when you are in a team that don’t like each other.”
Overshadowing the coalition talks, Kluth says, are the tense situations facing Germany internationally, including the escalating situation in Syria caused by the recent chemical attack as well as the opposition to the new Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from eastern European countries like Ukraine. Kluth tells us that “Germany and Merkel have…a role to play, possibly to prevent disasters,” Kluth says, “So we hope that this government can get it together.”