AHardly anyone remembers the 2017 coalition agreement. The Social Democrats had largely prevailed, it was said at the time. The same applied to the division of responsibilities in Merkel’s fourth cabinet. But that didn’t change the fact that the SPD sank into self-pity for the time being. The Chancellor, so the lament, passed off the successes of the Social Democrats as her own.
Today the world looks very different. Instead of the coalition of the Union and the Greens expected by almost everyone in the spring, Olaf Scholz, a Social Democrat, will be elected Chancellor in just under two weeks. In the media, there is no longer any discussion of the question of whether the nomination of an SPD candidate for chancellor still makes sense because of the fact that the candidate has no chance. Instead, there is speculation about the future social democratic health minister. The still incumbent Health Minister Jens Spahn has in fact been disempowered by the Federal Chancellery and the Conference of Prime Ministers. He acts like a breakfast director of the pandemic policy, who is allowed to communicate at press conferences what has been decided elsewhere.
The coalition parties have announced that they will be relocating the still-to-be-founded crisis team and the accompanying expert committee to the Chancellery. A new health minister must therefore have political instinct, organizational skills and the ability to work in a team in order not to end up on the sidelines like Jens Spahn.
Earlier misjudgments are often forgotten
There was no mention of such aspects on TV at ARD and ZDF yesterday. Who wants to talk about the supposed lack of chances for social democratic candidates for chancellor now? There are no clips about earlier misjudgments by the journalists appearing here, as is often done by politicians. Instead, this day was marked by the presentation of the coalition agreement. In their special programs, both broadcasters endeavored to present the most important passages for the individual political fields, looking for winners and losers in the coalition negotiations.
The contract is not an instruction manual. The traffic light projects have to go through a complex legislative process. To name just one example from the area of responsibility of the Ministry of Health. The new coalition announces the establishment of a “Federal Institute for Public Health at the Federal Ministry of Health”, “in which the activities in the public health area, the networking of the ÖGD and the health communication of the federal government are located.” At the same time, the “RKI in his scientific work not be bound by instructions ”.
That would be an important step towards professionalizing health policy. That would perhaps be less influenced by the activism of these days. In the past three weeks, for example, the prioritization of re-vaccination was hastily abandoned, which the President of the RKI explained in an interview with the weekly newspaper Die Zeit: The Stiko had “given a technically sound priority from the start” and it should “also be the same now stay. “After all,” some people need the booster for their own protection more than others. “But if you spread the offer broadly and contact every person in Germany as far as possible and have enough vaccine, then” that can be sorted out. “
If it weren’t for the word “if”, everything would work. The “if” also matters with the new government.
A lot of mutual praise on ZDF
The coalition agreement between the SPD, the Greens and the Liberals is not interesting because of its 177 pages, but because of its importance as a confidence-building measure. The “What now?” Program on ZDF was undoubtedly the highlight of the evening. Two federal ministers-designate from the two smaller coalition parties appeared together. Christian Lindner (FDP) and Robert Habeck (Greens) described the conflicts in the negotiations, but at the same time emphasized the relationship of trust that resulted. Nothing had been pierced to the public from the executive suite, of that both were sure. In terms of content, they tried to take a pragmatic approach, despite the differences that still existed.