German federal coalition contract: The plan till 2013 (Part I)

German governments are coalitions. We had three, four and five arty systems since 1949 and one-party governments were only feasible in some states, but ever on the federal level.

Conservatives (CDU), Bavarian conservatives (CSU) and liberals (F.D.P.) wanted to form a coalition and are in the process of doing so, thanks to having won enough votes in the September federal elections.
Their coalition contract isn't completely accepted by all relevant party instances yet, but it's expected to be the final version already. You could download it at the CDU, CSU and F.D.P. homepages.

Two chapters are relevant to this blog, the chapter on domestic security and the chapter on foreign policy and defence. I begin my report with the defence chapter:

"V. SICHERER FRIEDEN Durch Partnerschaft und Verantwortung in Europa und der Welt"

At the beginning they proclaim their allegiance to NATO, EU, European unification, multilateralism (G20, G8...) universal human rights, international law, peace, freedom, rule of law, security, prosperity ... the usual stuff.

The next part is about German interests (in their opinion):
The characterize Germany as an export nation (accurate, but rather something that should change!) and define our interest in sustainable economic activity, free trade and secure trade.
Risk and need for cooperative solutions arise from international terrorism, organized crime and piracy, climate change, fighting against poverty, food and resource security, pandemics and illnesses. (I wonder whether this order was deliberate.)

They want to strengthen and reform the UN to better match today's realities with its structures. They ask for a common permanent seat of the EU (actually less than the British and French one, and therefore not aimed at increasing, but at uniting European voting power). An alternative idea is a permanent UNSC seat for Germany, especially as a interim solution (that's a 90's dream of German foreign politicians). This duplication of proposals looks like a compromise to me.

(Several passages of continuity or of low interest.)

The issue of EU membership for Turkey is inconclusive. The CDU was pro-Turkey in the past in this matter, but the part in the coalition contract more describes the process than giving a yes or no answer.

Again some emphasis on a unified EU foreign policy...

"Wertegebundene und interessengeleitete Außenpolitik" - a foreign policy guided by interests but limited by values.

Strengthened German-American relations, with the notion that better relations would increase our political capital ("Gewicht", weight) in foreign affairs.

Then some praise on multinational institutions for supposedly being the right places to discuss and solve issues.

Next some emphasis on multinational treaties (NPT and others) and on the need to replace those that end soon.

(More a description than an action plan.)

Latin America:
A description, common EU foreign policy, free trade.

It's obviously being considered to be a trouble hot spot. Little real intent visible.

Near East:
(Continuity, nothing else.)

Several self evident statements (self-evident in Germany). This part sounds nevertheless quite unfriendly.

Our engagement there is (supposedly) of high interest to us.
Solidarity with the Afghan people (no mention of tribes).
New strategy to be worked out in a conference together with Allies and the Afghan state.
They stick with the concept of "Vernetzte Sicherheit" (networked security, an old and annoying German foreign policy buzzword).
Significant increase of training and (re)construction efforts.

Wir handeln militärisch nur dann, wenn wir dies im Rahmen der VN, der NATO oder der EU sowie aufgrund einer völkerrechtlichen Legitimation tun können. Unberührt davon bleibt das Recht auf Selbstverteidigung.
(We act militarily only if we can do so in a framework of the UN, the NATO or EU and on basis of an international law legitimation. Exempt is the right of self-defence.)

An order of how to respond to a crisis:
(1) diplomacy
(2) civilian efforts of police and judiciary system
(No mention of violent intervention, probably a concession to the "peace" emphasis in the document and the near-pacifist parts of the society. Maybe - just maybe - they learned that small wars are a poor idea.)

The federal police (former border guards) shall increase its pool of deployable personnel, and the 16 Germans states shall contribute to it.

They want to reduce the German contribution to UNIFIL (the pointless Lebanon maritime cordon) and cease it later completely.

Unification of the many multinational missions against the Somali pirates.

Funds for unexpected costs of deployments of security forces shall be in title 60 of the federal budget (the defence budget is title 14).

OK, short break. On page 116/124 finally a few words about the Bundeswehr itself...

- - - - -

(First some drivel...)

They stick with the conscription (the F.D.P. wanted to get rid of it), but will reduce it till 2011 down from nine to six months.

(...then some self-evident stuff...)

The problem of German courts watching suspiciously the use of violence by deployed troops shall be solved with centralized responsibilities (this will most likely mean that the federal general attorney will be exclusively responsible).

A statement for a robust German defence industry...

The coalition wants to see the (original) contract fulfilled. (This means no reduction of requirements, no increase of costs despite Airbus' pleas.)

Exports reduce the final batch 3b (which likely means a few fighters less).

Bei der Beschaffung wehrtechnischen Materials werden wir Strukturen zur Sicherstellung von Rechtsbeachtung und -befolgung schaffen.
This is surprising. It basically means more oversight over arms procurement. A (new) watchdog committee or bureaucracy that watches legality in arms procurement?

- - - - -

Back to foreign policy:

A lot of pledges against evil in the world (child labour, human rights violations, torture ...the full program).
Again some allegiance to the concept of multilateral institutions in this context.

- - - - -

The best of the coalition agreements at the end:

New minister of foreign affairs:
Guido Westerwelle
(chairman of the F.D.P.)
He's powerful in party politics, has aspired to this role for years.
Germany has a long tradition of liberal foreign ministers.
(photo (c) Dirk Vorderstraße)

New minister of defence:
Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg(shooting star of the CSU and former economics minister)
He was active in foreign and national security politics before.
Germany has some tradition with CSU ministers of defence).
He's Unteroffizier der Reserve der Gebirgsjäger
(reserve NCO of the mountain infantry)

The old and new chancellor will be the (unimaginative) Mrs. Merkel.
That's relevant for overall policy, foreign policy and the chancellor would also be CinC in wartime.

- - - - -

Most of what the coalition contract tells about the future national security and foreign policy is a continuation of old policies or drivel.

Interesting were:

The personnel decisions (we got rid of the terrible SecDef Jung).

The inconclusive part on Turkey's EU aspirations.
The part about the UNSC seat, especially in regard to the quest for a European foreign policy.
The conscription reform (a compromise, and possibly a slow death of conscription in general).
The A400M decision (a good one, and bad news for Airbus).

Future overseas missions of the Bundeswehr will at least in part be financed from outside of the defence budget.
An possible end for the legal insecurity of deployed troops in combat.

Armed interventions may be out of fashion, maybe just too hot a topic for a coalition contract. Who knows.

For foreigners it should be interesting to see the emphasis that German policy places on rule of (international) law, multinational institutions, cooperation and the United Nations.
This is just a continuation of foreign policies that date back to the early 50's, of course.



  1. Sven-

    Nice post.

    So Germany's new Defense Minister is also a reserve Mountain troops NCO?


  2. Can't wait for part two. Apart from Schauble being appointed Finance Minister I haven't heard much about the whole Stasi 2.0 aspect of the negotiations. Hopefully Schauble's removal from the Interior Ministry signals that the FDP is going to cut back on the police state, but it's probably just a reward for his loyal service and a way of making all of the graffiti and posters around Germany with his face on them instantly irrelevant.

    Obama's election in the US didn't change much in the way of the police state, it's doubtful that the FDP as a minority coalition partner will undo the damge that has been done to German civil liberties.

  3. It takes its time to wad through the coalition contract in search of hidden civil rights problems. I plan to write part 2 on late Wednesday.

    The new minister of the interior isn't exactly an improvement and all the problematic ministers of the old cabinet still have a voice in the new cabinet.