So Germany was seldom progressive like this week. In their search for similarities, the Greens and the FDP have already discovered one thing: the desire to move away from the status quo. The two parties want to form the “progressive center” of the next government. It is “cool” that something new is emerging. The SPD does not want to be inferior and is marketing the emerging traffic light coalition as a “progress story”.
As nice as the collective spirit of optimism is – melodious catchphrases in a coalition agreement will not be enough. How much progress is possible in Germany is not decided in Berlin’s government district alone. Everyone has to go along with this: the federal government, the federal states, the municipalities and, last but not least, the majority of citizens.
But the past few months in particular have shown how great the inertia is in the country. Use software from American manufacturers for digital teaching? Just not, warn data protection officers. Install air filters bought by parents? Only when a fire protection report is available. A greenfield development area? Maybe in a few years, when the last natterjack toad is relocated. Expand railway lines for climate protection? Not in your own neighborhood.
There are too many questioners and too few facilitators in Germany. There is little point in inventing all kinds of symbols of progress in Berlin, from an investment company to an independent digital ministry. It must also be clear what they could actually implement. There has long been a multi-billion dollar funding program for broadband expansion. However, the funds hardly flow out due to bureaucratic hurdles.
It is true that many young people voted for the Greens or the FDP because they hope they will bring about changes. The growth of the SPD among older voters also shows the desire to leave as much as possible untouched, be it the price of petrol, the retirement age or the amount of rent. In the past, conflicting interests usually meant political standstill. If things turned out differently this time, that would indeed be progress.