One thing you can't blame Olaf Scholz for: fear of big numbers and big promises. The most recent example was brought to the people by the Federal Chancellor after the cabinet meeting of his traffic light in Meseberg. Four to five wind turbines for the energy transition should be erected every day by 2030. That's about 10,000 pieces, which would be added to the almost 30,000 built so far. An ambitious goal. Because so many people are needed to build all this, unemployment could soon be history, the chancellor rejoiced.
Economics Minister Robert Habeck enthused at his side about a "gigantic industrial and employment program". Artificial intelligence, the digitalisation of the economy, new business models and transformation would bring prosperity and growth to Germany and Europe for the coming years and decades. The listener looked furtively towards the sky. Was it raining manna?
The traffic light can also be fast
Already at the beginning of his chancellorship, Scholz had announced his claim to shape a decade of renewal with the traffic light. Is he doing well? After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, he pushed through a special fund of 100 billion euros to make the Bundeswehr a reasonably effective tool of national defense again after decades of neglect. Subsequently, the traffic light took decisions on large billions of euros to make the consequences of the war more bearable for people and the economy. This motive also applies to the liquefied natural gas terminals and other measures taken by the government to prevent Germans from freezing in winter.
These were all impressive reactions to the abrupt end of energy supplies from Russia and proof that the traffic lights can also be fast. And despite all the criticism that Ukraine is being supplied with weapons too late, it is fair to say that a left-dominated government has broken in a very short time with the decades-old, convenient German habit of never supplying weapons to war zones.
But when it comes to designing, i.e. the announced renewal for the coming decade, then at least it is not far away with the new "Germany speed", which Scholz refers to in connection with the liquefied gas terminals. Very little has also been called up of the special fund with which a new army is to be designed or at least weapons and vehicles are to be procured from the old one.
So Scholz seems to think the time has come to finally send out good news: The wind will soon bring electricity, the heavenly child, instead of coal, as is currently the case. On top of that, there is an economic miracle without unemployment. This is the new traffic light narrative. Do not be afraid, but rejoice before the paradise that is near.
As is often the case when the captain on the bridge raves about the magic of the new world, the troops groan in the engine room. It is particularly hot there on the way to the budget for the coming year. This is by no means due to the fact that the SPD, Greens and FDP are unable to take joint decisions, as the aforementioned reactions to the war show. But now, in the second year of government, they want and need to distinguish themselves through design.
Fast march to wind turbine paradise
Although the coalition partners have shortened and accelerated parliamentary procedures to such an extent that even the Social Democratic President of the Bundestag, Bärbel Bas, has issued a written rebuke to the Chancellery and the leaders of the three traffic light factions, things are stuck in many places. On one of the pet projects of the SPD and the Greens, the basic child protection, the FDP chairman Christian Lindner recently said that they were "one hundred percent confident" that they would come "to Potte". The "two to three" billion euros for the complete automation of services will certainly be raised. In the left part of the traffic light, however, one thinks more of services in the small double-digit billion range, which would be needed for basic child protection, not only of the costs for automation.
The situation has been similarly entangled for a long time when it comes to speeding up approval procedures. The SPD and Greens need them especially for the fast march to the wind turbine paradise. However, the FDP is of the opinion that the road to paradise leads via motorways, which must be built quickly. Should the coalition succeed in untying at least a few such knots, that would be more important than the full-bodied promise of rosy times.