Winds of change in German politics and perhaps in Europe

The German economic model It is like that clock inherited from our grandfather that we know continues to keep time, with solid machinery, but which begins to show signs that it needs an overhaul because it is losing precision, it is running late.

Also, it already has a style vintage typical of another era and perhaps the time has come to change it. While Grandpa was wearing it, it seemed fine to us, but now that it is no longer with us, we do not dare to use it, we put it in a memory drawer and look for a smartwatch that better meets the needs of the 21st century.

Merkel’s march will mark a new era in Germany with the It will have a domino effect on the future economic policies of Europe. Germany has been, until now, the locomotive that has pulled the rest of the wagons that make up the EU countries, but Merkel’s exit from the political scene invites us to reflect on whether the new chancellor who comes out, not so much from the polls, but from the dispatches after the next elections, it will maintain a continuity line or it will adapt to the new winds of change that seem to be in German politics.

The latest voting intention polls show a fragmentation in which a coalition of variable geometry will be necessary in which the SPD party would be slightly above the CDU, both at a certain distance from the third, which is the Green.

However, the strong leadership of Merkel and the personalist government that she has represented has for many years directed not only the designs of the Germans but also of the Europeans and has left an indelible mark, whether for better or for worse, although I dare to think, which is positive for the majority.

That political personalism that only a few have throughout history, has generated an attitude of shared loyalty, I would even dare to say that, of a certain affection, adhesion, union and even devotion to their policies, and I am not only referring to the Germans but to many other European citizens that during all these years they have felt a certain admiration for a person who has governed better or worse, not only Germany, but who has marked the road map of what is now the EU.

Merkel’s personalist government has for many years directed the designs of Europeans and has left an indelible mark

In addition, Merkel has characterized her policy by strong austerity measures and control of public spending, very typical of the German mentality, to avoid budgetary imbalances and excessive indebtedness, something that it has tried to promote in the rest of the countries and, therefore, in the political decisions of the EU.

That transformation or simply that facelift that the German economy needs, goes through the dilemma of deciding whether to continue with the strict rigor that has marked an era led by Merkel in terms of deficit and public debt Or else, winds of change are coming and perhaps it is the opportune moment that marks a turning point in some principles etched in the mind of the Germans, based on the axis of moderation of own spending and promotion of control and balance of the accounts of the other countries.

That is, a relaxation of the brakes that have always been active in view of the fact that both the SPD and the Green parties are doing investment proposals financed with debt of many billions, that they will have to finance with debt and that they will have to bear budgetary imbalances. It seems that some of the principles are already being questioned.

This situation gives way to uncertainty that arouses in Europe about who is going to pull the European car, because perhaps it will cease to be the famous Franco-German axis, where France has always been in the background and It could be that Macron chooses new travel companions as is the case with Draghi or others of less political weight such as Rutte and the Nordic countries.

And the fundamental issue that concerns us and concerns us is the impact on the European economy that the decisions taken from now on may have, as there may be an important change of course, away from austerity and the rigor that has marked the Merkel’s policies and move towards the relaxation of spending rules and compliance with the Stability and Growth Pact, promoting even more expansionary spending policies, moving away from prudence criteria and meeting convergence objectives sine die, which can mark a change of course in the development of the EU.

Finally, some think that Merkel could be the future president of the EU, so it will be necessary to be attentive to future events. While that moment arrives, the Germans must decide whether to change their own rules of the game, some burned into its Constitution, and if Germany needs a change of course in some of its policies, to continue leading the growth of Europe, something that it does not seem to be very clear nor the Germans themselves.

It remains to be seen whether we say goodbye to Angela Merkel and her policies or are we just saying goodbye to her soon.

*** Juan Carlos Higueras is an economic analyst and professor at EAE Business School.

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