Le Chancelier qui rétrécit

Le voyage de Gerhard Schröder à Versailles, la semaine dernière, pour commémorer le 40ème anniversaire du traité de l'Élysée, qui mit fin à l'inimitié historique entre la France et l'Allemagne, et s'opposer, conjointement au président Chirac, à une invasion de l'Irak par les troupes américaines, lui a permis de se placer dans la lignée impressionnante des puissants chanceliers d'après-guerre. Pourtant, comme les réflexions de la Galerie des glaces de Versailles, l'image d'un chancelier allemand puissant est une illusion.

Le chancelier Schröder en est conscient. Chez lui, il fait l'objet de chansons satiriques et se retrouve embarqué dans des procès d'intention frivoles pour savoir s'il se teint ou non les cheveux et passe suffisamment de temps avec sa femme. Surtout, ses hésitations à la tête du gouvernement dans le traitement des problèmes nationaux tels que la sécurité sociale et les retraites ou le marché du travail créent un sentiment de paralysie politique. L'Allemagne semble baigner dans la passivité, comme elle le fit dans les dernières années du long règne d'Helmut Kohl. Mais M. Schröder fut élu sur la promesse d'un futur plus dynamique que celui offert par M. Kohl.

Que s'est-il passé ? Les échecs de M. Schröder ne sont pas aussi liées à ses qualités personnelles et à sa politique qu'on le pense habituellement. En dépit du pouvoir apparent des chanceliers allemands d'après-guerre, le système politique de la nation ne peut être qu'un gouvernement administré dans la mesure où le traitement des questions fondamentales par la mise en place de réformes profondes est habituellement impossible. Tandis que l'Allemagne se bat pour renouer avec la croissance économique, cette faiblesse mandatée par sa constitution devient de plus en plus évidente.

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