tv Quadriga - The International Talk Show LINKTV January 18, 2018 7:00pm-7:31pm PST
question on "quadriga," is waiting fo "waiting for germany: new government in sight?." i am joined by three excellent observers and analysts, beginning with andreas kluth. andreas says another grand coalition would alienate even more voters and put german democracy into a coma. , whous is derek scally writes the irish times. he writes with this grand coalition agreement, germany's social democrats have signed their own death warrant livestrong stuff. and a very warm welcome to pascale hugues. argues the european the grandeds
coalition. in manual macron is, she says, still waiting for an answer from berlin. i would like to begin with the headline story here. germany's and conclusive election. still, no government in place in berlin. this is not what we expect from germany, is it? pascale: no, it isn't. the germans want stability, they want continuity, they don't want any starman's. they want something very secure and very quickly secure. we have this to and fro. the whole thing starts again from scratch, so it is very surprising. and the manual macron said it should not last too long for the europeans who are waiting. i think the germans are either set up or slightly a little bit -- when are they going to get a government? anchor: you mentioned president macron.
what are ordinary french people saying about this? are they looking closely? pascale: they don't understand the spd anymore. it is very difficult for me to explain that to my readers. the spd voted a few weeks ago before christmas that camino, they agree -- that, you know, they agreed to start negotiations. if the delegates vote, there will be anotother vote at the e, and you know, we just don't understand anymore, why can't they agree and do it or not do it but make a decision? anchor: you're laughing, derek, because -- derek: we have been waiting so long at this stage. [laughter] remarkable, but if you are being optimistic, you could say this is the normalization of german politics. last year, we had the dutch and the belgians waiting for a
government. it seems to be the new getting of a government. i think the real problem is that we had a bit of an earthquake in germany on september 24. there was the large parties which had the worst results and thank you 49, and they just want to carry on. 1949, and theye just want to carry on. they really have not realized that this is not -- people are very insecure and they said we will work together. that is already starting off on the wrong foot. i had are saying this is a wonderful the. there are really big things going on in the world. we are starting to see the tremors in germany. i do not see either of these parties having responded d to tt in what t they have presented to the people. we are going into this considering what is going on in the world, taking his sweet time. anchor: the political parlance
for all of this is the wording that is very widely used, especially in the media, is there is a political crisis and germany. people are willing to concede that much. there is not a crisis of state, as it is put. so, no angst, is that what we are supposed to understand? is that supposed to reassure us? tribute to the german constitution that the german state can still function without a government. you will not have a government shutdown here like you would in the u.s. but the complacency here is quite staggering. the rest of europe is waiting for germany and they are sitting, studying their own belly buttons, picking out a bit of fluff day by day. this is not a way to be the largest power in europe. anchor: what you say, andreas, about this? this has become a bit of a platitude to say that germany is a well read a democracy these days, that it is pretty unshakable as a democracy. can it be shaken by this crisis? andreas: no, i don't think the
specter of y marr is upper -- weimar is appropriate. nothing will shake germany because weimar introduced a constitution that gave germany powers, actual powers. he was quite stern. he forced his own party, the social democrats, that into these talks with angela merkel after the social democrats had on election night ruled it out. nothing will shake democracy of germany. i think it is a lot overblown. the country is very complacent. that is the risk. the grand collision would make it worse. the country is currently running fantastically well with unbelievably low unemployment and surpluses and gifts to be dealt out everywhere. that shows you why the ordinary german citizen isn't very concerned. there is not an economic crisis but a political crisis
underneath. i happen to think that in the medium run in the long run, this grand coalition, which would be the first in postwar history and the third under angela merkel would make the political crises worse in the long run. anchor: we will talk about that in a moment. pascale, the sense is to pick up on the basic economic data with impressive growth and record levels of employment. the country is pretty much on autopilot, and there is no problem. yes, butat the moment, no decisions can be made, not on the european level, no policy decicisions for germany. but it's true that this is happening on the betting of economic wealth. unemployment is low. state is well-off. and this is great luck.
it is happening with an economic crisis with uncertainties and fears, then it will be quite dangerous. not too much time. anchor: ok, but this week has been talked about as a decision week, derek? what is being decided this weekend? what makes it so crucial or not? derek: at the risk of the boy who cried wolf, the journalist keeps saying "breakthrough. breakthrough." the cure for cancer. theal democrats have -- leaders of the party have come up with a preliminary plan. they are going to put that to 600 party delegates this weekend. y yes, theyates say go into formal coalition talks. at the end of that procecess, or 400,000 social democrats and voters, the rank and file sitting at home with a piece of paper, can put an x, do we like this or do we not like this? do we want to collapse this may be just to give angela merkel, send her off into the sunset?
we don't know what will happen at the end of this process. what is happening during the weekend is another in between step. it will be important to send a signal that the delegates stand behind the leadership and wanted going to talks with a view to forming government, but to the members? i have talked to a lot of members who say this is the very last thing missiles the social democrats need. we have enabled angela merkel far too long. she has gotten everything out of usus and we have gotten nothing back. they say this preliminary coalition deal, everything we promised, the big ticket, they were not delivered. angela merkel was dangling off a cliff. we were pro last hope. we reaeached out, we gave her a hand, and we got nothing for it. so why on earth should we go into government with this woman again? that is what a lot of rank-and-file people are saying. so this negotiation, it will all be very nice with lots of emotional speeches. whether or not the actual members want -- they will have
the final word. anchor: we will talk about this lady very shortly. for the time being, all eyes are on the spd. the social democrats, germany's oldest political party. the spd is in this array. martin schulz is struggling to persuade the party to follow him into a rerun of the grand coalition. let's have a look. >> marshals has been traveling around the country, trying to convince people that the spd must carry out its political responsibilities. but not everyone agrees with him. >> you are straighter. -- a traitor. >> shame on you. important thing that we have achieved in these political negotiations is this. we have now created an excellent opportunity to move europe in a new direction. that is something i will campaign for. >> and i am certain that we will be able to turn this headwind into a tail wind.
>> but youngerer spd party membs are turning away from schulz, mostly because t they are opposd to a a new grand c coalition. we are convivinced that ththis coalition would threaten the existence of the spd as a political party. the social democrats are divided as never before. does this signal the end of the spd? question.big does it signal the end for the spd? after all, this is the party of -- and they are apparently fighting for their lives. what's going on? >> social democrats of the centerleft, post-marxist -- they have been on a steady decline because none of them, including democrats,social have found compelling answers to the big question of our time of the modern age of the internet of things and artificial intelligence, where it is no longer the proletariat against
the bosses. if you noticed, the main message policy they went -- the went intoocrats -- these negotiations with was a decade-old idea about reform of, lefty reform of the health insurance system. it was written off. they have not really produce anything and people are losing interest. they can increasingly not tell the difference between them and other centerleft parties like andgreens, between them angela merkel is christian democrats. for them, it is bad. i read in the latest poll today that they have drummed another two percentage points to 18% from their historically low results on september 24. 20%. they are in very bad shape. to be honest, that is their problem, and i almost think they deserve it. anchor: pascale, do you see the similarities between the demise of the socialists in
france? pascale: if you think the social democrats are lefties hand clinging to market theories, then you do not the french ones. i mean, the french socialists and the french left represented .he far left very antiquated. and they always -- the social democrats is much more middle -sender, and that is the problem. if they don't go and take the opposition, they will carry on losing,heir soul and you know, their ideas. they have been swallowed by the christian democrats. and it's interesting because they have come to an agreement, draft of a coalition contract, and there is no major left-wing idea in there. i mean, europe is good, but i don't think that, you know, marshall's is trying to do what he thinks that macron has done in france. macron went into the election
with a very european program, but the people of france did not secondssively in the round for macron because of europe. they voted because they wanted to avoid marine le pen and the front national. they did not vote explicitly for macron's program. the french are very eurosceptic. they voted against somebody inststead of for someone. i don't think that martin schulz isgoing to, you know, europe not going to mobilize the crowds in germany. the last time they had a contract of negotiation, they had it as a measure. they wanted to introroduce the minimum salary, and that of course was a very social democrat idea. this time, there is not much. and i agree with both of you that the members of the spd will be very disappointed. anchor: the party leadership is inclined towards getting involved in another grand coalition with angela merkel conservatives. you say, derek, that that would be signing the death warrant? derek: because they need new
ideas. i do not see -- they have been in power with merkel twice over. every time they go into power with multiple, they come out the other end -- merkel, they come out the other end with great things. minimum wage, they achieved it. they were not able to sell it. the government party leaders saying we need to be empowered to implement things. famous line, opposition is rubbbbish. in government, they were not able to achieve anything. they are not able to sell it. i do not really see one big idea , sort of, headline. there is nice things in there. these are things that any sensible government should want to do, particularly considering the eight of things here. they have got one headline -- that is going to hurt her bubut help our voters and that's why we are going into government. who announces a
question, what is the alternatives to the grand coalition? andreas: if i may have a stab at that, there's a very good alternative. it's a minority government. the germans just have not had one because -- the founders of the constitution were afraid of their experience in the weimar republic when there was such instability that it led to the nazis. lots of countries, including ireland, scandinavia -- canada has had 13 minority governments. new zealand, the dutch. a minority government is not the disaster that angela merkel seems to think it is. it is not necessarily unstable. ,t just means the largest party she would form a government and she would have to get majorities from an active and vibrant chamber of democracy. the bundestag, the parliament. the merits of each case, she would have to make politic. anchor: that includes 92 members of the far right populist -- andreas: precisely, and that is
the best way to defuse that populist rise. that's what i was going to say. why is the alternative for germany called "alternative?" because of the word that "alternative left" that merkel coined when she presented everything as -- the lefties and the righties were well together and there is nothing to worry about, debate, or vote on. it is much better if we take the big issues and debate them with shifting majorities. she won't be toppled him a by the way, even if they have a grand coalition. it will not last for years necessarily. i think they should consider that it would be better for democracy and bring the population back and make them less cynical. i think it would be bad for the alternative for germany if there was a minority government t and proper debate including them where they have to actually stand up and people might listen to them, which is the worst thing that can happen to them, the populist. pascale: the other alternative, new elections, but that is a
very dangerous or maybe a very stupid idea. elections, let's say, in two months, three months, it is going to be hostile and extremely expensive and difficult to organize. the results might be the same as what we had on the 24th of september or maybe even worse for the spd, who has not been able to make a coalition, and then you have to start from scratch. that would bring delays. it is not the solution either. >> and it's not a solution for europe. comes from the european parliament. he is very proud to get three pages of european speech at the start of this coalition, preliminary coalition agreement. when you look at this, actually, there is not much. comesort of signaled able and meet macron halfway on the notion of reform in the eurozone m investment, and so on, in the eurozonene to protect and insule
the eurozonene against future shocks. if you look at the details, mr. schulz is very in favor of mr. mike ross proposals. merkel has always been skeptical. she said "i'm quite skeptical." she hasn't pulled back from the brink by the social democrats and has managed to somehow have the positions now that she had before the election. where did the spd manage to score a point or, you know, bring her over to their site on europe? the rest of europe has said this is a breakthrough for europe. germany said we will consider macron's proposals. anchor: do the people of europe want this grand plan within eight years? who wants that around europe? the neighboring countries? the member countries? ordinary european voters? do they want to buy into this vision that martin schulz is going to go out there?
>> i i don't think so. he is talking about the united states of europe. macron was talking about integrating the eurozone. we need to get momentum back into the european union. since brexit, we have been waiting around. his idea is if you start talking about moving the european union forward again or the eurozone, we are back on track. i do not know whether that is worrying people on the street, but to go out and sell this as a great triumph for social democracy is rather naive. what role does angela merkel play in all of this? one thing is for certain, it doesn't look good for the most powerful woman in the world that she is often called that she cannot call together a coalition government. merkel's fourth term as onto a rocky start. in last september the election, support for the christian democrats fell sharply compared to 2013. then, coalition talks with the free and the greens collapsed.
that was followed by talks with the social democrats. the chancellor has vowed to carry on. i i think this document represents an appropriate level of give and take. a wide range of topics important to our society. it is going to take plenty of work to convert all of this into policy. >> the chancellor will not have the final say on that. her political fate is in the hands of the social democrats. even if the two sides agree to form a coalition, will angela merkel have what it takes to lead this new compromise government? anchor: what is your assessment of where angela merkel find herself at this point in time? how battered is she by events in germany? pascale: it makes clear how is and political destiny how it can cap sizer quickly. ,emember before the election
especially in france, angela merkel was seen as, you know, as a stone in the middle of this tempest, and she was solid and wonderful. the french had the real love for angela merkel. she is a contrary to what our politicians are. the hopes were set on angela merkel. everybody thought she would be the next strong chancellor, and four month later, you know, she is very fragile. very much criticized for her past politics. there is nobody she has blocked the way for any succession, nobody really obvious who could take on if she had to stop governing. so it is very interesting, and they do not see how even if the coalition was some sort of coalition before, how she could get out of it and become again the most forceful or powerful
woman in the world. anchor: what do you say, andrea's? the influential newspaper had a page photo of angela merkel and above it "is she already consigned to history?" andreas: you could they damaged goods or lame-duck or a she is. she is a skillful as a politician that she could prolong this lame-duck period possibly for years. i think she is wise enouough to realize that after 13 years, it is time to allow some potential heirs, successors to rise in her party. no matter what happens in a coalition in a minority government, she will make way for somebody in this legislative term of four years. i think we have got maybe two years of her. derek: she always said at the -- she her career,
was asked why politicians always miss the moment to leave. she said "that won't happen to me. i don't want to be carried out a half dead wreck." anyone who saw her after 24 , she of all my discussions looked like a half dead wreck. there is no makeup in the world that can cover that up. we need to separate of course areeen what journalists perhaps getting bored by her and want a new face and a new story. we need to separate that from what people want. i covered the german election and the fury towards her. a growing group has this notion that angela merkel is -- she is not a strategist. she's a tactician, and the tactics is "how do i get past obstacle?" she got past marshall with this coalition agreement. the question is whether voters feel this way and social democrats rank-and-file feel this way. anchor: for our viewers, i that one recent survey gave angela merkel 65% backing as a good chance.
78% associate her with stability. two thirds say her best days have gone. we are getting close to the end of the show. our question at the beginning of the show was "waiting for germany: new government in sight?" weill give each of you -- haven't got time for it. give us the quickest estimate for where we are going to go next in germany? anandreas: i hope and think the rent coalition will fail and we will be surprised to discover a minority government works unbelievably well even in germany. [laughter] kluth continues to post a minority government. thank you, all three of you, for being here today. we will be talking about what happens next to germany. thank you very much for joining us. if you enjoyed the show as much as me, come see us next week. bye-bye.