The FDP is not only stopping the pension package but also the budget wishes of the red-green ministers. Christian Lindner instead calls for an “economic turnaround” for Germany. It could be the beginning of the end of the traffic light government.

First the FDP’s 12-point paper on the economic turnaround, then the budget scandal with the Green ministers and now the stop and delay of the pension package. Christian Lindner shows his edge and signals to the Republic that the traffic light government cannot continue like this.

The red-green actors in the traffic light coalition still thought in April that the FDP was only blustering in the usual non-serious manner with a view to its party conference. Labor Minister Hubertus Heil joked about the Liberals’ “party conference folklore” – now his face is completely petrified when it comes to the FDP. The SPD and the Greens suspect that this time Lindner is serious about his economic turnaround. It dawns on the Ampelians in Berlin – the government is being openly questioned.

There are three circumstances why the liberal uprising could actually turn into a coalition break. On the one hand, the situation and mood in the German economy is so tense that the pressure on the FDP to act has become enormous. “Something has to happen and something will happen. The Republic will still be surprised,” says those close to Christian Lindner.

You can also hear from the Green Party leadership: The Chancellor’s strategy of sitting out the crisis and whitewashing it will not survive the summer.

Secondly, the traffic light parties are threatened with disastrous electoral defeats and even historic debacles in the European elections and the state elections in the autumn. For the FDP it is about sheer survival, for the SPD it is about its role as a people’s party. This would be tantamount to a historic break in the republic’s axis. However, the FDP will not stagger into ruin a second time after 2013 and leave the Bundestag just because it has endured too long in a bad government.

The third argument for a coalition break lies in the approaching budget negotiations. They are already completely jammed. Finance Minister Lindner is calling for austerity plans, but the red and green ministers do not want to deliver them, preferring instead to talk about easing the debt brake.

The budget dispute reinforces the government’s fundamental disagreement over regulatory policy. From the Ministry of Finance we hear that Linder’s slogan is to “stay tough” and demand fundamental reforms. This means that the 12-point paper is likely to become the focus of the next coalition crisis.

Lindner already announces that there are diametrically different “schools of thought” in traffic lights. SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert attacks the FDP paper as an “insult against employees” and a “cynical view of our fellow human beings”. SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich denigrates the Liberals as “mothballs”, SPD party leader Lars Klingbeil trumpets: “We won’t allow that.” A lot of it sounds like election campaign mode. FDP strategists are predicting a “showdown in June” after the European elections, when the coalition could finally collapse. The Social Democratic Bundestag member Helge Lindh is already warning that the FDP paper is actually “a declaration of withdrawal from the coalition” if you take it seriously. Christian Lindner takes it pretty seriously.

Much is reminiscent of September 9, 1982, when a messenger rang the bell at the Bonn Chancellery on Thursday evening to hand over an envelope with a 33-page economic transition paper from the FDP. The harmlessly awkward-sounding title at the time was “Concept for a policy to overcome weak growth and combat unemployment”.

The messenger delivered one of the most explosive letters in German history. The explosive content brought about the collapse of Helmut Schmidt’s chancellorship and with it the social-liberal era. In the FDP they know the turning point paper of the legendary Economics Minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff and have therefore given the current provocation paper a cumbersome and harmless name “12 points to accelerate the economic turnaround”.

In terms of content, Lambsdorff’s paper from 1982 reads like a blueprint for the government’s current situation. The demonstrative use of the “turnaround” vocabulary also shows that Christian Lindner has a clear intention of what he wants and what he is threatening.

Conclusion: Lindner not only stops the pension package and the budget wishes of the SPD and the Greens. He is actually rehearsing rebellion. Since three quarters of Germans are highly dissatisfied with the tottering, divided traffic light government, a horror ending to the traffic light would in any case be better for Germany than a never-ending terror. So, dear Mr. Lindner, dare Lambsdorff!

The article ““Republic will be surprised”: What political insiders hear about Lindner’s pension blockade” comes from The European.