The Brief – The paradox of German politics – EURACTIV.com

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The war in Ukraine has triggered a ‘Zeitenwende’ in German politics. While the Traffic Light Coalition had pledged to devote its foreign policy to spreading international peace, it is now responsible for the biggest turnaround in recent German history, which laid the groundwork for Germany become a military power ready to defend Europe. interests.

Germany now plans to invest 100 billion euros in its defense capabilities.

That the Social Democrats and the Greens are responsible for one of the most important changes in the history of German foreign policy. It may seem like a paradox, but in the past most major changes in German politics were actually pushed through by the least expected parties.

The examples are numerous, and even German politicians are lost in them.

The current foreign minister and then candidate for chancellor for the Greens, Annalena Baerbock, praised the Social Democrats during their election campaign last year for having “put the social market economy on the way” in the 1960s.

The only problem: it was not the Social Democrats but the CDU/CSU conservatives who invented the concept.

The same applies to the liberalization of the German economy.

While the liberal FDP and the conservatives have always been the most vocal about cutting unemployment benefits and social spending, it was a coalition of social democrats and greens that was behind the greatest liberalization of the German economy – Agenda 2010 – in the early 2000s. .

A similar pattern emerges when we look at the refugee crisis of 2015, where conservative Chancellor Angela Merkel decided to open the doors to refugees and redefine Germany. ‘Willkommenskultur’ – a decision that many in the conservative camp would have thought impossible before.

But what looks like a set of weird historical coincidences is almost programmatic for German politics: you’re just doing what’s needed and what’s best for your country – even if that contradicts the party’s long-held beliefs.

The German sociologist Max Weber laid the foundations for this conception of politics at the beginning of the 20th century.

According to him, politicians should not only be guided by their ideological preference, but by Verantwortungsethik – which loosely translates to the ethics of responsibility.

This politico-moral principle places the consequences of political action at the center of decision-making, even if the decision goes against the deeply held ideological beliefs of the political decision maker. And that’s what we see, once again, now.


The roundup

The Polish, Czech and Slovenian prime ministers were due to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal in the country’s besieged capital, Kyiv, on Tuesday.

French campaign websites fail to meet EU data protection standards, with President Emmanuel Macron – who recently announced his re-election – taking on the worst of it. EURACTIV France reports.

India could accept a Russian offer to buy crude oil and other commodities at cut prices, two Indian officials have said, in a sign that Delhi wants to keep its main trading partner on board despite Western attempts to isolate Moscow by penalties.

Civil society calls on the EU, national governments and humanitarian organizations to redouble their efforts to protect the 2.7 million Ukrainian people with disabilities who are at risk of being abandoned, dying or becoming homeless in the face of the Russian invasion.

The British government has added more than 360 Russian oligarchs, politicians and businesses to its sanctions regime, subjecting them to an asset freeze and a travel ban.

While the debate was more focused and organized than before, participants said disinterest from politicians clouded the final panel of the Conference on the Future of Europe (CoFoE) in Strasbourg this weekend.

Thousands of Hungarians were expected to join various public events in Budapest on Tuesday to mark the start of the 1848 uprising. he Moscow invasion of Ukraine features prominently in April’s general election.

Finally, don’t miss our Transport Brief for a weekly roundup of news.

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The views are those of the author.

[Edited by Alice Taylor/Zoran Radosavljevic/Nathalie Weatherald]

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