Commentary: Scholz’s word for power – the early solution to the last resort | – News – NDR Info – Broadcasts

Status: 23.10.2022 00:00

Chancellor Olaf Scholz had to use his authority to set guidelines last week to resolve the dispute over the remaining lifespan of Germany’s last nuclear power plants. The Greens and the FDP were stuck on this topic. Then came the chancellor, albeit with a very early last resort solution, which says a lot about the state of the coalition.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) gives a press conference at the Federal Chancellery.  © Kay Nietfeld/dpa

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A review by Christoph Schwennicke, freelance writer

Christoph Schwennicke © Cicero/Andrej Dallmann Photo: Andrej Dallmann

Freelance author Christoph Schwennicke believes that the use of policy competence also says a lot about the state of the coalition.

It is such a thing with this directive power. Of course: It sounds good, it sounds like a government and it has constitutional status, Article 65, first sentence: “The Federal Chancellor sets policy guidelines and is responsible for them”.

In fact, however, the issue of instructional competence is highly dialectical. It is the nuclear option in politics. It derives its effectiveness primarily from prevention. From the fact that it is there, that it can be used. But those who actually use them risk weakening everyone, including themselves in the end, because their use sets in motion an escalating spiral. This is perhaps why the clear use of directive power has only been guaranteed once: by Germany’s first chancellor, Konrad Adenauer.

Not a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness

In this regard, it is not a sign of strength, but a sign of weakness that Chancellor Olaf Scholz had to use the German head of government’s nuclear option after just one year. In the dispute between the Greens and the Yellows over extending the life of Germany’s remaining nuclear power plants, he simply had no other choice but to fall back on this last instrument of his power.

Everyone involved in the coalition is damaged

Everyone involved in the coalition is harmed by this process. First the two fights Christian Lindner and Robert Habeck. What a performance the first two men from the Liberals and the Greens set in the coalition negotiations! How you got closer, how you realized you were much closer than you thought. That a whole new style of respectability politics was to be established in this tripartite alliance was not really sought, but then, apparently, was found against expectations.

Nebbie. It only took months for the veneer of conformity that Green and Yellow had put over their deep ideological fissures to open. Lesson: For now, it’s not enough to get along in person if both parties remain stuck in their make-believe worlds at the same time. The new political style, as promised by the traffic light, would have meant in this dispute: Some put aside their nuclear allergy in light of the situation, as the environmental icon Greta Thunberg has shown them, and leave at least three active nuclear ones . power plants continue to operate for now, or say until the end of 2024. And others, the self-proclaimed main party FDP, put aside their obsession with freedom when it comes to cars and support a temporary speed limit of 130 in German autobahns. Also until the end of 2024.

Almost childish behavior

But neither could do either. Instead, the Greens styled the three-month stretch of two furnaces until April as a major concession to the precarious situation, or rather: to the pesky FDP. This is nonsense, because nothing can be better predicted in the energy supply until the spring – which also refers to the delayed curb on the price of gas, which will only come into force in the spring – when now the three nuclear power plants , which have been in the works for a long time, finally cooled down. This is not logical, coherent or coherent in the back or front. In the case of the Liberals, on the other hand, their transport minister seriously presented an argument against the temporary speed limit, which lacked the necessary traffic signs! There is a nice word for such a statement: outrageous.

So much for the almost childish behavior of the two younger partners at the traffic lights. So, about the chancellor and his role. As is known, Olaf Scholz always knew everything in advance. He has repeatedly said this publicly and always attaches great importance to it, most recently when it came to the use of gas as a weapon in the hands of Vladimir Putin. So the question arises: why didn’t Chancellor Allknowing see this clash between his two coalition partners for as long? And intervened in this matter at an early stage before it really started?

Not only an extreme tool, but also bad style

Scholz apparently learned from his predecessor, Angela Merkel, that many things are better left until, in most cases, they are resolved, resolved or shake themselves out. This might be a justifiable style of politics in normal times. In high-pressure times like these, it’s useless. Beyond that, something doesn’t add up at all. A long laissez-faire from the Chancellor is followed by a rise in the form of a word of power – and not even face to face (the three-way exchange by Scholz, Habeck and Lindner last Sunday ended without result), but in the form of a letter , which he drew “Hello”.

This is not just an extreme remedy. But also bad style. With consequences. You know this from everyday life: many people get into email in great shape and find great courage in statements that they have not dared to say to the addressee’s face. It is a rampant bad habit, even among private and business people. Even more so between the chancellor and his deputies.

A nagging mistrust has spread

The positive signals from the two warring camps for the clear compromise of the chancellor should not hide the fact that in this traffic light coalition a disturbing mistrust has spread, which this word of power has not eliminated. In opposite. After only one year in office, this alliance has proven to be haphazard and very fragile. Only power, albeit a strong glue, can hold these coalition partners together.

Better not to govern than to govern badly. With this famous sentence, Christian Lindner had already walked away from a possible alliance of the Union, the Greens and the FDP after the 2017 federal election, which has yet to start. Lindner cannot do this a second time without damaging his body politic, without leaving a mark on his party. So the Liberals are really the unlucky worms in this alliance, wedged in and in a marginal transition between red and green – like the veritable traffic light at the crossroads.

The FDP is not to be envied. But also not to be sorry. She has maneuvered herself into this dead end from which there is no golden way out. Especially not twelve more weeks of uptime for a nuclear power plant in Emsland.

Editor’s note: Dear reader, sharing opinion and information is especially important to us. Opinion contributions such as this comment reflect the personal view of the author. Comments can and should take a clear position. They can cause agreement or disagreement and thus stimulate discussion. In this way, commentaries deliberately differ from reports that provide information about a situation and aim to present different perspectives in a balanced way.

Further information

View of the Emsland nuclear power plant in Lingen.  © dpa-bildfunk Photo: Friso Gentsch

A total of three nuclear power plants will continue to operate after December 31 – until mid-April at the latest. more

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NDR Information | Comment | 23.10.2022 | 09:25 am

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