Health Insurance Sticking Point in German Coalition Talks

Windows of a hospital in Erlangen, Germany, July 17, 2014
Windows of a hospital in Erlangen, Germany, July 17, 2014 (Reinhard Kuchenbäcker)

One of the sticking points in attempts to form another grand coalition government in Germany is the country’s mixed public-private health insurance system.

The Social Democrats campaigned on merging the two. Their argument is that the one in ten Germans with private insurance (mostly people with yearly incomes over €50,000) get better care: shorter waiting lists, more services. Read more

Reminder Not to Rely on American and British News About Europe

German chancellor Angela Merkel waits for other leaders to arrive at the G7 summit in Bavaria, June 8, 2015
German chancellor Angela Merkel waits for other leaders to arrive at the G7 summit in Bavaria, June 8, 2015 (Bundesregierung)

Remember when Germany faced its “biggest political crisis since the late 1940s,” as one BBC journalist put it?

Or when, according to National Review, Angela Merkel had been “marooned“?

Or CNN reported that the “Merkel myth” had “imploded“? Read more

Everything You Need to Know About the Coalition Breakthrough in Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from reporters in Brussels, June 28, 2012
German chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from reporters in Brussels, June 28, 2012 (Bundesregierung)

Germany’s Christian Democrats and Social Democrats have agreed to form another “grand coalition” government.

Here is everything you need to know about the deal. Read more

Immigration, Digital Economy Reforms Justify Another Grand Coalition in Germany

German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, in parliament in Berlin, September 10, 2014
German chancellor Angela Merkel speaks with her finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, in parliament in Berlin, September 10, 2014 (Wikimedia Commons/Tobias Koch)

German media report that the country’s Christian Democrats and Social Democrats are making progress in talks to form another coalition government.

  • There is reportedly a deal to attract more high-skilled migrants.
  • The parties are willing to spend €12 billion to expand fast Internet access across Germany by 2025.
  • They are also looking at tax incentives to promote digital research and investment.

The plans bely fears that another “grand coalition” would muddle through for four more years as opposed to making necessary reforms. Read more

Momentum for Macron’s EU Reforms, But Obstacles Ahead

Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29
Paolo Gentiloni, Mariano Rajoy, Emmanuel Macron, Angela Merkel and Mark Rutte, the leaders of Italy, Spain, France, Germany and the Netherlands, deliver a joint news conference in Berlin, June 29 (La Moncloa)

France’s push for closer European integration is gaining momentum.

  • Martin Schulz, the leader of Germany’s Social Democrats, has conditioned another grand coalition government with Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats on support for Emmanuel Macron’s proposals.
  • Armin Laschet, the prime minister of Germany’s most populous state, North Rhine-Westphalia, and a prominent Christian Democrat has come out in support of the French agenda.
  • The European Commission has unveiled its own proposals for closer economic and fiscal integration that resemble Macron’s. Read more

Bavarian Right Wonders How to Rebound with New Leader

Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with his counterpart from Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, in Berlin, October 10, 2014
Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with his counterpart from Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, in Berlin, October 10, 2014 (Bundesrat/Henning Schacht)

Bavaria’s ruling Christian Social Union (CSU) is gearing up for a change in leadership after Horst Seehofer, the state premier, announced his resignation on Monday.

Markus Söder, the state’s finance minister, will take Seehofer’s place at the head of the Bavarian government.

Seehofer remains party chief for now, at least until coalition talks for a national government are completed.

But it seems only a matter of time before he will have to give up that post as well. Read more

Schulz In No Rush, Makes Demands on Europe, Health Insurance

German Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz, then president of the European Parliament, watches as Chancellor Angela Merkel signs a guestbook, November 7, 2012
German Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz, then president of the European Parliament, watches as Chancellor Angela Merkel signs a guestbook, November 7, 2012 (European Parliament)

German Social Democratic Party leader Martin Schulz has made clear he is in no rush to form another grand coalition with Angela Merkel’s conservatives, telling reporters in Berlin, “We are under no time pressure.”

This is partly theater. Schulz ruled out another left-right pact after losing the election in September, but now it may be the only way to form a majority government. His base is skeptical, so he must take it slow.

Schulz is also signaling to Merkel that she better give the Social Democrats enough concessions for them to justify four more years of coalition government. Read more