With an electoral program that promises a “modernizing push” to face the effects of the coronavirus pandemic and consequent protection of the climate and the environment, the German Conservatives, the Union of Christian Democrats (CDU) and Bavarian Social Christians (CSU) launched themselves this Monday to renew his government mandate after the end of Angela Merkel’s era in the Federal Chancellery on the occasion of the legislative elections on September 26. “We combine consistent climate protection with economic strength and social security,” said Armin Laschet, president of the CDU during the presentation of the Union program in Berlin. “We offer security and cohesion during change,” said the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia and a man who aspires to succeed Merkel as head of the executive in the German capital. “Program for stability and renewal – United for a modern Germany” is the title of the 138-page document that was unanimously approved this Monday by the executives of the CDU and CSU just 100 days before the general elections.
The program of the German conservatives differs markedly from those presented so far by their current Social Democratic partners (SPD) in the grand coalition and the Green and Left opposition. Not a single tax increase and not to mention property taxes. And instead, a tax reform that will benefit companies, total dismantling of the so-called solidarity tax with which the reconstruction of East Germany has been financed during the last three decades and even tax relief for people of small and medium incomes. A risky bet on simple and flat economic growth to finance the relaunch and modernization of the country once the Covid-19 epidemic has been overcome. The Union is committed to the experience of recent years, with explosive tax revenues if the framework conditions fit. It is not about spending, but about managing in an organized way.
However, during the press conference to present the program, neither Laschet nor Markus Söder, president of the CSU and Prime Minister of Bavaria, made mention of the gigantic plan for Germany that a few weeks ago seemed to be the center of the modernizing initiative of the conservative candidate to the Federal Chancellery. Of course, Laschet and Söder deployed a catalog of environmental measures to curb climate change that seem written to cajole the Greens. From the promotion of photovoltaic energy, to the development of storage technologies for renewable energies and the use of hydrogen, the ecological sanitation of homes or subsidies for those companies that are committed to maximum energy efficiency. There will also be more money for the railways, digitization, the federal army and development aid, as well as for German health, after the effort made to face the pandemic. His rivals from other parties and political analysts in Berlin wonder how they plan to finance so much extra spending.
In addition, in terms of internal security, they promise to accelerate the expulsion of rejected asylum seekers, especially those who have committed crimes, and a strong hand against family mafia clans of Arab and Turkish origin that control the criminal world of large German cities. And in foreign and security policy they commit to comply with the objective of 2% of budgetary military spending demanded by NATO and to maintain a critical tone towards Russia and China, especially for their human rights violations, although CDU and CSU they underline the need to maintain dialogue with their respective governments.
Laschet and Söder affirmed that they have also overcome the phase of rivalry and strong competition that faced them while the Union decided who of the two would be the candidate to succeed Merkel in power. “Those ten days have not fractured us,” said Söder, the loser of the duel that led to strong tensions within the conservatives. “We have a very stable human base,” the Bavarian Prime Minister commented on his relationship with Laschet, against whom “everything has been clarified and discussed” and whom he intends to fully support as a Union candidate in the next elections.