This flood is not just a flood. It is a “surreal”, “frightening” and “spooky” devastation, to use three words spoken by Angela Merkel during her inspection in North Rhine-Westphalia and in Rhineland-Palatinate, the area affected by the tragedy that has already caused 165 deaths. . Its consequences could be, indeed will inevitably be, political too. And economic, of course, given that, as Horst Seehofer, the Minister of the Interior, has anticipated, the cost of reconstruction will be in the order of billions of euros.
Flood in Germany, accusations against political authorities
First of all, after the shock caused by the events, the time of the trials has begun. And the political authorities have ended up in the crosshairs of various controversies. The first is linked to the reaction speed to the weather alert and to the functioning of the meteorological warning system itself. The hypothesis is spreading that the German authorities had been warned by the European authorities at least 24 hours before the disaster about worsening weather conditions and the possibility of an exceptional wave of bad weather. And the countermeasures adopted would not have been sufficient to cope with the risk.
Cdu / Csu in the crosshairs, Merkel’s torments in search of the heir
It is therefore inevitable that even the Great Coalition led by the CDU / Csu may suffer some criticism. And all this just over two months before the elections at the end of September. The first, after a long time, without Angela Merkel. The chancellor will leave after four terms and the majority party is very afraid of the unknowns that the future holds. In recent years, Merkel has put a lot of energy into finding her heir. First, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer was chosen, but her constant blunders have effectively excluded her from the race. Ursula von der Leyen herself, another eligible candidate, was chosen for the presidency of the European Commission and is therefore unable to take up Merkel’s baton.
Flood Germany, the chancellor candidate Laschet in the storm for a laugh
After long hesitation, Armin Laschet was spotted. A name that did not excite everyone, on the contrary. His appointment as president of the CDU, which took place on January 16, came with only 52% of the votes, ahead of challenger Friedrich Merz. And even in recent months it has failed to garner a unanimous consensus, either outside or within the majority party. He could be the one who pays the most for the effects of the flood. All because of a video in which he is filmed laughing about the disaster sites.
The images, shot over the weekend, shoot him against the background of Frank-Walter Steinmeier: while the German president speaks with a sad expression about the losses caused by the flood, Laschet laughs and jokes with local politicians. The video quickly went viral and obviously led to a lot of criticism on social media. The fool is double given that Laschet is also the governor of North Rhine-Westphalia, one of the regions affected by the disaster. Therefore he is attacked not only for laughter, but also as a possible culprit of some deficiencies in prevention.
Flood Germany, the suggestion: what if Merkel remained in the end?
Laschet obviously tried to apologize: “It was inappropriate to laugh at such a moment,” he said. But now there are many who do not consider him adequate for the succession to Merkel. Not only public opinion, which can hardly take the images of that laugh out of their eyes, but also within the CDU there are many doubts. The elections are close and the chances of failure high. But it will not be easy to find another name, so much so that there are those who fantasize about the possibility of yet another re-nomination of Merkel, who would again remove the chestnuts from the fire of a party that is unable to renew itself.
Flood in Germany, pushed to the Greens for the elections
On the other hand, those who could benefit from this whole situation are the Greens. Until a few weeks ago their rise seemed unstoppable, but after the recent local elections the wind had changed, with the recovery of the CDU and the steady decline of the Grunen in the polls, also due to a few too many missteps by their leader Annalena Baerbock , in recent weeks among other things accused of plagiarism after the publication of her new book.
However, the trend could now reverse again. The flood is in fact linked to the consequences of climate change, the main theme of the Greens who can use the situation to attack the lack of preventive policies of the Great Coalition currently in government and offer themselves as an effective and winning alternative to implement environmental and sustainable policies. The first post-flood survey in fact saw the stop to the decline of the Greens, who are now back to lull the dream of winning the elections. The challenge, for Baerbock and his companions, will be to convince the electorate to be able to adopt effective green policies to combat climate change without, however, affecting existing economic interests. It won’t be easy, but now the game seems to have reopened.