Germany's Chance for a Reset
Over the weekend, Christian Lindner, the young, camera-loving chairman of Germany’s Free Democratic Party (FDP), dashed hopes that Berlin would form a black-green-yellow “Jamaica” coalition with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative bloc and the Greens. After two months of negotiations, following the CDU’s clear but muted victory in the parliamentary elections in September, Lindner walked out on the talks, saying that the parties had failed to find a way to govern together. As he told the press Monday morning, they were unable to agree on “a common idea of how to modernize Germany.”
Nobody said it would be easy for this eclectic quartet, with the conservative CDU, its sister party the Christian Social Union (CSU), the pro-business FDP, and the leftist Greens, to cobble together a coalition agreement when their core issues—immigration, taxes, and the environment—were on the line. With the collapse of the coalition talks, and calls for a snap election, Europe’s largest economy, and its stable center, enters uncharted territory just as the continent awaits Berlin’s direction on a host of tough issues, such as European defense, Eurozone reform, and Brexit.