When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Geopolitics

Germany Weighs Coalition Of Conservatives And Greens

Austria's conservative-green coalition, though currently facing a crisis linked to corruption allegations, has been cited as a possible model for Germany's current post-election talks to form a new government. Could there be a logic to pairing the center-right CDU and the Greens in Berlin?

Woman cycling past election posters of Green and SPD candidates

Germany now faces the tough challenge of forming a coalition.

Klaus Geiger

-Analysis-

BERLIN — It was late September, 2019. Austria's elections had just taken place and the political parties, which had attacked each other throughout their campaigns, suddenly started talking, sounding each other out about joining forces. Three months later, on New Year's Day, a coalition government was formed, an alliance between the Austrian People's Party and the Greens.

Before the elections, the Greens' left-wing base was adamant they would never sell their soul to the devil by forming a coalition with their arch-enemy Sebastian Kurz, the man who had previously governed alongside the right-wing nationalist Freedom Party of Austria.


But Kurz and the Green Party's pragmatic leader, Werner Kogler, knew what was really important: trust and respect. So both sides compromised. Over the past two years or so, Kurz and Kogler have led a stable coalition, through a terror attack in Vienna to a global health pandemic. The first major crisis arrived Thursday, as Reuters reports, when the Greens cast doubt on Kurz's ability to lead after he was placed under investigation for alleged corruption.

Economy and/or environment?

Still, just this past week had also seen the alliance of the Austrian conservatives and the Greens had reached a peak success in legislation: Long nights of negotiations have finally achieved what was thought to be impossible two years ago: a win for both the economy and the environment.

The "eco-social tax reform" agreed in Vienna on Monday has three main focuses: Citizens will have to pay more for their carbon footprint; the burden on poorer citizens will be eased; and income from higher carbon prices will be used to reduce taxes and boost the economy.

Austria's message to the German parties currently trying to form their own government is loud and clear: A coalition can be more than the sum of its parts. It can add value through bringing together parties with different priorities. That's also possible in Germany.

A dose of optimism.

The carbon tax and the call for social equality were both central to the manifestos of the four parties that look set to form a coalition in Germany: It will be some combination of the Christian Democratic Union, the Social Democratic Party, the Free Democratic Party and Greens. The FDP also called for lower taxes, more economic growth and support for entrepreneurs. Some members of the CDU and Greens would support these measures, although the SPD is unlikely to.

Why, exactly? There is some room for manoeuvre. Austria has announced tax cuts while its national debt stands at 83.9% of GDP. Germany is in a better position, with only 69.8%. Kurz and Kogler plan to fund the tax cuts through economic growth. They are optimistically betting on the future.

Germany needs a dose of that same optimism. A coalition of unequals doesn't only require trust. It also demands courage.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Society

Jehovah's Witnesses Translate The Bible In Indigenous Language — Is This Colonialism?

The Jehovah's Witnesses in Chile have launched a Bible version translated into the native Mapudungun language, evidently indifferent to the concerns of a nation striving to save its identity from the Western cultural juggernaut.

A Mapuche family awaits for Chilean President Gabriel Boric to arrive at the traditional Te Deum in the Cathedral of Santiago, on Chile's Independence Day.

Claudia Andrade

NEUQUÉN — The Bible can now be read in Mapuzugun, the language of the Mapuche, an ancestral nation living across Chile and Argentina. It took the Chilean branch of the Jehovah's Witnesses, a latter-day Protestant church often associated with door-to-door proselytizing and cold calling, three years to translate it into "21st-century Mapuzugun".

The church's Mapuche members in Chile welcomed the book when it was launched in Santiago last June, but some of their brethren see it rather as a cultural imposition. The Mapuche were historically a fighting nation, and fiercely resisted both the Spanish conquerors and subsequent waves of European settlers. They are still fighting for land rights in Chile.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ