Separating from a secretary of state alone does not realign the coordinates of a government. Patrick Graichen's self-inflicted failure, with the weakening of his minister, could nevertheless help to give economic and climate policy a boost towards more sober pragmatism and less moralizing activism.

Even before the separation from Graichen, the considerable reservations in large parts of the population, but also in the governing coalition, towards the plans in the Habeck ministry were unmistakable. Anyone who wants to save the world with hasty, poorly prepared projects such as the Building Energy Act should not complain if, above all, the part of the population that has not yet been gripped by fear of catastrophe does not go along with it.

Crash in opinion polls

Of course, it is uncertain whether the German government will succeed in making a pragmatic new start in economic and climate policy. Not only the Greens and their associated forces in science, non-governmental organizations and the media had thought the party was in a strategically favorable position, in which the Greens appear to be a natural government partner at the federal and state levels. This position of power, combined with the conviction that a rapid, in case of doubt radical policy, was indispensable because of the climate risks, had been a major driver of the green project.

These ambitions are being shattered by the crash in the opinion polls and by an obvious distancing not only by the FDP. But also by an SPD that naturally benefits from the disenchantment of a possible chancellor candidate Robert Habeck.

Concepts on how to base economic and climate policy more on personal responsibility and how to pursue it less dirigiste have been available for a long time. They could probably be implemented at least partially with the SPD in the current government. But it is above all the Greens, trapped in their sense of self and mission, who must make their peace with the political reality of this country.