Sunday, November 28

Germany: Waste of the worst past | Opinion

The SPD candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, last Tuesday.
The SPD candidate for chancellor, Olaf Scholz, last Tuesday.TOBIAS SCHWARZ / AFP

In Europe that is polarized and tempted by populism, the German consensus clearly expressed at the polls stands out. Only a fifth of voters are still drawn to the old authoritarian, nationalist and anti-European undermining, concentrated in Die Linke and Alternative for Germany, the two extremes. Election after election, chancellor after chancellor, the old ghosts are unfolding, which possessed Thatcher and Mitterrand in 1989 when the Wall fell, with the announcement of the disasters of German unification, a euro turned into the monetary euphemism of the German mark and the echo of sinister militaristic drums.

If the disturbances in world balances of power lead us to ideas and fears from 70 or even 100 years ago that we thought were perished, these elections show that this is not the case in Germany. There is nothing to fear from her. Or you have to fear the same as any other European country. Very little remains of the nation of Thomas Mann from a century ago, the still nationalist writer of Considerations of an apolitical, which reviled the idea of ​​a European democracy built on the basis of national democracies and declared that “the German people will never be able to love political democracy because (…) the so reviled authoritarian state is, and continues to be, I believe, the way appropriate government that corresponds to the German people and that I myself prefer ”.

The two relics of the worst past have been portrayed. The heirs of communist authoritarianism have skirted the catastrophe with 4.9% of the vote, one tenth less than the percentage required to enter the proportional distribution of seats, and have only escaped parliamentary disappearance thanks to the three direct nominal voting seats. obtained in the former territory of the extinct East Germany. The nostalgic people of the extreme right have fared better, with their 10.3%, 2.3 below their 2017 result, although again it has been in the old countries from the East where they have saved the furniture.

The touchstone of the consensus in which the four central forces participate, the only ones useful to govern in coalition formulas, is the European Union and more specifically its foreign and defense policy. Certainly, it has been the missing chapter of the campaign. Not from the programs, all of them explicit enough. It mobilizes the environment and social policies and the debates never reach the big global strategic questions. Seen from the turbulent Spanish politics, the European resonance between the four parties is admirable, even in the most delicate chapters that revolve around strategic autonomy or the European army.

Despite the extremes, this European and pro-European Germany is definitely the one Thomas Mann wanted when he abhorred Hitler and fled the German Europe he dreamed of in his youth, then turned into totalitarian horror. Now it only remains for the programs to be translated into policies. This is what we Europeans expect from your reluctant leadership.

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