Frugal politician eyes finance ministry in next German coalition

Date:

Guten Morgen And welcome to Europe Express.

We are 10 days away from now German federal election And while the competition for top jobs has fallen to two major candidates, this area is more crowded when it comes to potential residents of major ministries. Today, we are pleased to present the profile of Christian Lindner, a liberal leader who can scoop up the Treasury in one or two simultaneous scenarios.

Meanwhile, in Strasbourg, the European Commission today is set to submit recommendations on what the government should do. Protect journalists Following a series of assassinations of investigative journalists over the past few years (rather than intimidating them).

And in Italy, Volteface virtuoso Matteo Salvini is considering his options. Covid Pass, A less popular measure that the government is trying to introduce to workers in some sectors today.

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Mini shoe bull under construction

He is a man who is likely to become Germany’s next finance minister. Liberal Democratic Party leader Christian Lindner wrote that if the FDP came to power after Germany’s September 26 elections, it would be a strong candidate for the post. Guy Chazan In Berlin.

But what does that mean for Europe?

Lindner’s financially conservative party has a significant share of Euroceptix. Whether or not to bail out Greece during the eurozone debt crisis was well-known. Lindner is a solid pro-European, but can also prove to be a nasty customer for some of Germany’s European partners.

It was obvious in him, for example Yesterday’s interview With the Financial Times. Take the EU Stability and Growth Pact. The block is currently in the midst of a debate about how to reform debt rules that were suspended during the pandemic. However, Lindner is unaware of the need for change.

“Over the past few years, the Marstricht criteria have been shown to be appropriate and flexible enough,” he said. “Therefore, the euro area should work towards their recovery and soon.”

Asked what his European priorities as Minister of Finance are, he replied that his main goal was to reduce economic disparities between member states. But not through “relocation,” richer countries are subsidizing poorer countries. Instead, the focus should be on improving private sector investment conditions. So far, it’s very spartan.

He supported “Europe’s general banking and financial markets” and said it would “strengthen the position of private banks in the market” and accepted general deposit insurance (a long-standing problem for Germans). Said it seems to be. However, there was a caveat. Such a plan is that “the special circumstances of German savings and co-operatives must be taken into account.” And they are the main brakes on reform.

Lindner sounds modest in Europe, but the FDP manifesto is clearer.

The budget deficit and the limitation of the debt-to-GDP ratio are the “foundations of European fiscal policy.” The party wants to reform the SGP to “strengthen sanctions” on EU member states that continue to violate the rules of the agreement. In the meantime, the Corona Recovery Fund must remain “one-time”.

The idea of ​​introducing an additional EU tax “is rejected because it is incompatible with the European Treaty.” German partners cannot be said to have been warned.

Chart du jour: EU Featured Bill

The EU’s newly created debt has proven to be attractive enough for investors, and the yield on the new bill sold by the Commission yesterday began to be lower than its German equivalent. This development is surprising given that it is Berlin’s decisive decision to stand behind the EU’s large-scale borrowing program alongside other member states to drive investors’ motivation for new treatises. It was a thing.European Commission Issued 3 billion euros € 2 billion for 3-month and 6-month securities. ING’s rate strategist Antoine Bouvet said the relatively lack of EU legislation could have pushed up prices at auctions and pushed yields into the negative territory. “Because this is a new asset, free floats have been very limited so far compared to many liquidity sloshing looking for similar assets to buy.”

Protection of the Fourth Estate

Journalist murders, government secretaries’ online attacks, and reduced freedom of the press are the toughest features of the EU’s media industry, he wrote. Maileen Khan In Strasbourg.

Later today, Brussels seeks to counteract some of these trends with suggestions that help journalists provide better protection. This is the first time the European Commission has set foot in an area lamenting its limited legal capacity to protect the independence of Europe’s fourth property.

The physical and online safety of journalists is in the limelight following the murder of prominent figures such as Maltese anti-corruption journalist Daphne Kahlua Anagaritia and Slovak Yankziak. Earlier this year, Greek reporter Jorgos Karibaz and Dutch criminal journalist Peter Le de Vries were shot dead.

Flowers placed where Dutch journalist Peter Le de Vries was shot in Amsterdam

Flowers placed where Dutch journalist Peter Le de Vries was shot in Amsterdam, July © ANP / AFP via Getty Images

In her State of the Union address on Wednesday, Commission Chair Ursula von der Leyen gave Brussels legal fire to reduce increasing political interference and crackdowns on multiple media outlets across Europe. Promised to enact the Media Freedom Act. “You can’t treat media companies as just another business. Their independence is essential,” she said.

Today’s recommendations on the protection of journalism provide a modest attempt to raise awareness of the degree of online harassment of journalists and their lives and threats to their lives. Approximately 900 attacks on journalists were registered last year, according to Commission figures.

The proposal includes a recommendation to EU countries to establish a special force within the police to investigate crimes against journalists who can also act as “digital shelters” for journalists under online threat.

This subject is particularly relevant during the EU’s presidential era in Slovenia, where Prime Minister Janez Janša was widely criticized for personally targeting journalists on Twitter feeds, creating a hostile environment for journalists from the Council of Europe. Was accused of being.

Vice-Chairman of the EU Executive Committee, Bella Jouroba, presents the proposal with French Commissioner Thierry Breton. “When violence comes from the mouths and tweets of political leaders, it’s very dangerous,” she told Europe Express. “Unfortunately this also happens in Europe, and it’s shameful.”

Salvini vs Covid Pass

Matteo Salvini has always been a man who looks more comfortable in the opposition than in the office.Now that his party has signed Mario Draghi’s unified government, the challenge for noisy league leaders is to find the right balance between complaining and looking constructive. Miles Johnson In Rome.

One of the problems Salvini finds particularly troublesome is that the Italian government is developing a so-called green pass for vaccinated workers. Today, the Draghi Cabinet is expected to increase the number of people who need a Green Pass to work legally.

Salvini objected to requiring non-healthcare workers to pass. Still, top members of his own party, especially Giancarlo Giorgetti, Minister of Economic Development, have publicly pushed back to the league leaders.

Roman watchers determine whether this apparent division is a sign that Salvini lost influence within his own party when Salvini’s Italian compatriots of Giorgia Meloni slightly overtook Italian rights. I’m trying.

For some political analysts, the open disagreement between Salvini and Giorgetti over the Green Pass was the various “good cop, bad cop” that the party used when it was part of a coalition government in the past. It’s just an updated version of the routine.

Danielle Albertazzi, a professor of political science at Surrey University and a league expert, calls this strategy “one foot, one foot.” An attempt to maintain some of the credibility of being an opposition by choosing specific issues to attack the coalition government.

But in the new Italian political climate, it is clear that the strategy of transforming Salvini’s formerly unchallengeed party from focusing on industrialized Northern Italy to Central and Southern Italy is no longer working.

Salvini has repeatedly shown his unwillingness to destroy old playbooks, including defending league politicians who tried to rename the public park after Mussolini’s brother.

If the league’s new strategy of pivoting towards the center continues to lose support in polls, Salvini could increasingly return to the old routine that made him first popular.

It, in turn, could test the patience of the more moderate members of his party and increase tensions within the Draghi coalition.

What to see today

  1. German Chancellor Angela Merkel meets French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris

  2. European Commission submits journalist safety recommendations

Notable, quoteable

  • Challenge to China: EU announced Will step up As part of an initiative called the “Global Gateway,” the challenge to China’s Belt and Road Initiative through investment in infrastructure and a ban on forced labor.

  • Tip cash: The EU needs to provide a subsidy of at least € 20 billion if it wants to “move the needle” in the manufacture of computer chips in the block. Soitec CEO said, A French supplier of silicon wafers used in the manufacture of chips.

  • Bulgarian vote, take three. President Rumen Radev set up the country’s third parliamentary election on November 14, this year. On the same day, voters will cast ballots in the presidential election. Radio Free Europe Report.

  • Soul sisters: Two Scandinavian commissioners, Margrethe Vestager of Denmark and Ylva Johansson of Sweden, It’s been found Knitting in the State of the Union speech on “Strengthening the Soul of Europe” addressed by his boss Ursula von der Leyen.

FT Live: Future of Europe — New Banking and Financial Opportunities

Join the political leaders and CEOs of Europe’s top financial institutions This virtual event On September 21, they discovered their views on the direction of the banking and financial sectors and appreciated their willingness to integrate and cooperate in the post-covid world.

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Today’s Europe Express Team: guy.chazan@ft.com, mehreen.khan@ft.com, miles.johnson@ft.com, valentina.pop@ft.com.. Follow us on Twitter: @GuyChazan, @MehreenKhn, @MilesMJohnson, @valentinapop..

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