petty squabbling

Griping Instead of Governing

merkel gabriel action press
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel and Chancellor Angela Merkel are getting nowhere fast.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    • As long as the economy is good, the public might stand for inaction. But Germany faces a list of pressing issues that cannot be solved without compromise.
  • Facts


    • SPD projects blocked by the majority Christian Democrats include building north-south power lines for the big energy transition.
    • Federal elections are more than two years away.
    • The Social Democrats are unable to get above 25 percent in the polls.
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It’s hard to keep track of what Germany’s grand coalition is currently fighting about – even for Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel.

Mr. Gabriel, the economics minister and head of the left-leaning Social Democrats (SPD), needs to keep a list of SPD projects stymied by the majority Christian Democrats. They range from workplace laws to building north-south power lines for the country’s energy transition, which has been blocked by Horst Seehofer, head of the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union.

No one knows if Chancellor Angela Merkel is keeping a similar list of CDU projects blocked by Social Democrats, the coalition’s minority partner. Perhaps top of her list would be Mr. Gabriel’s stubborn refusal to lower the solidarity tax. The tax was first introduced in 1991 to finance Germany’s participation in the Second Gulf War, and re-introduced in 1995 to finance eastern states.

In any case, the mood in the governing coalition is reaching its lowest ebb, with a new conflict flaring up every day.

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