Public Affairs & Government Relations

German Election Pulse 8 Dec 2021 – Germany Has a New Chancellor and Government

Yesterday, two and a half months after federal elections and following votes of approval by the parties, the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens (Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen) and the Liberal Democrats (FDP) signed their coalition agreement. Titled “Daring More Progress – an Alliance for Freedom, Justice and Sustainability”[1], it lays out the basis on which they want to govern together. They have given themselves an ambitious program with climate protection, industrial transformation and social justice at its centre and the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic at its beginning.

This morning, Olaf Scholz (SPD) was elected as the next Federal Chancellor in parliament (Bundestag) with a clear majority of 395 of the 707 votes and officially appointed by the Federal President. His Cabinet Ministers followed shortly after and the oath to the constitution in Bundestag followed early in the afternoon. Official handovers of the ministries follow suit.

Scholz’ Cabinet is, as promised, 50 percent female consisting of 7 SPD ministers, 5 Green ministers and 4 FDP ministers. (See a full list of the new federal ministers below.)

Robert Habeck is Vice Chancellor and the first Green Minister of Economic Affairs with the extended portfolio of Climate Protection. This combination is to help deliver on the achievement of the Paris climate goals and creating a social-ecological market economy as proclaimed in the coalition agreement. The challenges are huge, and Habeck has already pulled a strong team of experienced political heavyweights together to support him.

As expected, Christian Lindner of FDP is the new Finance Minister. It is largely due to the FDP that the retention of the debt brake (to be reinstated from 2023) and no tax hikes are written in the coalition agreement. But yesterday, Lindner expressed clearly that he wants to enable investment towards the goal of the economic transformation towards climate neutrality and make use of the scopes he has, for instance by releasing non-used funds or debt allocated for the COVID-19 pandemic.

A little surprisingly, the Liberal Democrats also gained the Ministry of Transport, to be led by Volker Wissing, and with the added core responsibility for Digitalization, a competency the Liberals had strongly campaigned for. While not confirmed, this added responsibility would mean some shifting of directorates and teams from the Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Chancellery, across which digital policy was largely shared so far.

The Foreign Office will be another ‘first’ in the Scholz Cabinet, with Annalena Baerbock of the Greens as first female Federal Foreign Minister. Baerbock stands for a value-guided foreign policy even more integrated with Europe and for European sovereignty, based on strong global relations and partnerships, and with the protection of human rights as a key guiding principle. In line with her European focus, Baerbock’s first foreign visit will take her to Paris, the EU in Brussels and Warsaw as early as tomorrow. At the weekend, she will travel to Liverpool for the G7 foreign ministers meeting, an important date, as Germany takes over the G7 presidency on January 1, 2022.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz has chosen in good tradition Paris for his first official foreign trip. He is due to visit President Macron, who was among the first to congratulate the new German Chancellor via twitter, on Friday. Scholz will want to set the relationship with Macron off on a strong start, as France is the key ally for Germany in Europe and France will take over the European Council Presidency in January. From Macron’s perspective, the Franco-German relationship is also critical as he prepares for Presidential elections in Spring. After Paris, Scholz will travel to Brussels to visit the EU Commission and Commission President von der Leyen as well as NATO General Secretary Stoltenberg.

As their coalition agreement proclaims, the new German government wants to dare progress. Given the current pandemic situation, the climate crisis and urgent geopolitical tensions in Belarus and the Ukraine/Russia, this new government will have no time to be hesitant and won’t be given a grace period. The handover of government business has started already, and it is today that Olaf Scholz takes over the Chancellery and the Merkel era ends.

 

Federal Chancellor and Cabinet Ministers

Federal Ministries

Federal Minister

Party
Federal Chancellery

Olaf Scholz

SPD
Federal Chancellery, Minister for Special Tasks / Head of Chancellery

Wolfgang Schmidt

SPD
Federal Ministry of the Interior and for Home Affairs

Nancy Faeser

SPD
Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs

Hubertus Heil

SPD
Federal Ministry of Defence

Christine Lambrecht

SPD
Federal Ministry for Housing, Urban Development and Construction

Klara Geywitz

SPD
Federal Ministry of Health

Karl Lauterbach

SPD
Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development

Svenja Schulze

SPD
Federal Foreign Office

Annalena Baerbock

Greens
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection

Robert Habeck

Greens
Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture

Cem Özdemir

Greens
Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Seniors, Women and Youth

Anne Spiegel

Greens
Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Nuclear Safety and Consumer Protection

Steffi Lemke

Greens
Federal Ministry of Finance

Christian Lindner

FDP
Federal Ministry of Justice

Marco Buschmann

FDP
Federal Ministry for Digital Affairs and Transport

Volker Wissing

FDP
Federal Ministry of Education and Research

Bettina Stark-Watzinger

FDP

 

The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.

© 2021 FTI Consulting LLP. All rights reserved. 

 

 

[1] Coalition agreement 2021-2025 between SPD, Buendnis 90/Die Gruenen and FDP, 24 November 2021. Link

 

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