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Germany's sharp left turn

By Ivo Strejček

The move to the left is a long-standing trend in German politics. Chancellor Merkel is leaving and her sixteen years as chancellor are sad examples of this movement. The leader of the still nominally conservative CDU – but realistically a more moderate version of Germany's green social democracy – has helped drag Germany into serious long-term problems. By abandoning nuclear power, Merkel has played with the prosperity of more than just German industry. By opening her arms to mass migration, she has accelerated a dramatic change in the structure of the German population and that of other EU countries. By promoting von der Leyen to head the European Commission, she has moved German green extremism to the EU level. There, of course, "gr@tinisms" of all kinds had been thriving for years before – they were just waiting for a life-giving political impulse, which, of course, cannot end in anything other than a threat to living standards, poverty and hardship for normal people.

A statue of two vital opinion makers and activists in Berlin.

And yet – as the current developments in Germany show – it is never so bad that it can't get worse. This country, economically and politically decisive for the future of continental Europe, will be led in the coming years by a coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals. The future government's programme is another sharp left turn in German politics, often to extreme political positions, making it look as if it has been copied from the Greens' election slogans.

To give a few examples. The future German government is committed to accelerating the transition away from coal – by 2030 at the latest. By the same date, it commits to an 80% share of renewable energy in energy production. It will increase rail freight transport by 25%, and will "rigorously" push for the introduction of a Europe-wide air transport surcharge similar to the one already in place in Germany. It promises that by 2030 there will be at least 15 million electric cars on the road (but the coalition does not say how the cars' batteries will be charged when the sun is not shining and the wind is not blowing).

On the issue of migrants entering the country, too, the German Green Social Democratic establishment intends to do everything possible to make it easier for migrants to enter the country, and even to make them even more comfortable in Germany than they already are. In fact, the government is pledging to speed up the removal of "bureaucratic" obstacles to migrants coming here (a "commissioner for combating racism" will be set up) and promises them the possibility of applying for dual citizenship within five years, including the right to vote. (Incidentally, the German government's leftists plan to grant the right to vote to young people as young as 16, just as they promise to legalise marijuana).

In foreign policy, the incoming German government is calling for "feminisation", an obvious signal that the co-leader of the Greens, Baerbock, will become Foreign Minister (the Czech Pirate Lipavský will get on well with her if he becomes Czech Foreign Minister). The government's foreign policy programme explicitly advocates an approach that "will result in the establishment of a European federal state", the veto power is to be removed from the decision-making of the European Councils and qualified majority voting is to be extended (explicitly also in matters of a common foreign and security policy), the European Parliament is to be given legislative powers (fortunately it has not had such powers to date), unified EU-wide electoral lists are to be created and the nominee for the future President of the European Commission is to be a Green politician from Germany.

The filling of government posts is also important. Here, too, the Greens seem to have won all the way, as they will control the ministries in which their green extremism and left-wing progressivism can run wild. They should be given the Foreign Ministry, the Ministry of Industry and – now – the Climate Ministry, the Ministry for the Family, the Ministry of Agriculture and, of course, the Ministry of the Environment.

The German political change must not be downplayed or even ignored in the Czech Republic. The economic and political magnetism of our powerful neighbour co-determines events in the Czech Republic, Central Europe and the EU, where it is Germany that decides the dynamics and depth of the unification process. Moreover, the Czech Republic will have a new government which, through the political programmes of its members, will be both pro-Brussels and pro-Berlin.

What happens in Germany is therefore decisive for us and will, with a certain time lag, also happen here. The future Czech politics may differ in small ways from that in Germany, but the framework within which it will operate will be Euro-German. And this is not optimistic news for some of us.

Ivo Strejček, a member of the Board of Directors of the Václav Klaus Institute, Právo [The Law/The Right] daily, 1 December 2021

Translated with (free version)

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