German chancellor Angela Merkel ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images

Germany’s Bland Grand Coalition

In pursuit of another "grand coalition" government, Germany's Social Democrats and Christian Democrats have published a provisional agreement outlining their proposed agenda. But the program party leaders have devised seems to have been inspired by a wish not to offend rather than a desire to confront the country's challenges.

MUNICH – Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), the Christian Democratic Union, and the CDU’s Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union (CSU), have agreed to pursue another “grand coalition” government, and have published a 28-page agreement outlining their proposed policy agenda.

The agreement comes months after an election in which the SPD and CDU/CSU advanced rather different economic-policy views. Whereas the SPD has focused on the need for more redistribution and public spending, the CDU/CSU has promised “tax cuts for all” and a more restrictive refugee policy. The question now is whether a coalition comprising such ideologically divergent forces can truly prepare Germany for the challenges that await it.

In the months and years ahead, German policymakers will need to manage the transition into the digital era, in order to preserve the country’s competitiveness. They must also stabilize the welfare state at a time of rapid population aging. And they must develop a rational migration policy. On top of this full domestic agenda, many are looking to Germany to keep the European Union together.

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