The threatening recession is putting the German coalition under pressure

The economic clouds that obscure the German economic horizon can put the nerves of the coalition government's partners to the test again. The Conservatives of the CDU and the Social Democrats of the SPD do not have the same vision on the strategy to be followed to prepare for the landing of the German economy and to prevent that after ten years of growth, it is not dark in the recession. . Christian-Democrat Minister of Economy Peter Altmaier officially opened hostilities on Friday in an interview with Handelsblatt.

His desire to go beyond what was provided for in the coalition agreement with the SPD by abolishing the solidarity tax ("Soli"), which makes companies pay more heavily, is not new. But this time it is strong to go beyond the strong resistance of the Social Democratic Minister of Finance, Olaf Scholz.

" Wait and you will see it He promises. " The last noticeable relief for successful economic players took place 15 years ago. It is therefore more than legitimate for the Minister of Economy to appropriate this question. This can not be done in a dispute with the Federal Minister of Finance. But I will do everything to make it work He promises.

New surplus of 12.8 billion euros in 2018

However, the maneuvering space seems narrow. Despite a new budget surplus of 12.8 billion euros in 2018, Olaf Scholz warned that this pot will shift to new spending before this year, especially to support the purchasing power of households.

The years of the fat cows are behind us.

" The years of the fat cows are behind us The last said on January 6 in an interview with "Bild am Sonntag", warning that it was not necessary to count on new surpluses to absorb extra expenses. The two ministers, however, agree to the rule of " schwarz zero "Is a balanced budget without resorting to debt.

In his interview Peter Altmaier emphasizes his willingness to reach an agreement this year to give a strong signal to companies. The German Industry Federation (BDI) recalls that the tax burden on companies in Germany is about 30%, against an average 21.7% in EU countries. But to overcome the square of the circle, the Minister of Industry calls for a diversified application that has expanded over time.

It remains to be seen whether this will be enough to overcome the reticence of the Minister of Finance. This may depend on the extent to which growth is cooling: the government must present its new forecasts for the year at the end of the month. Officially this autumn counted on a 1.8% increase, but Peter Altmaier has already mentioned the figure of 1.5% several times. If the revision is stronger, the negotiations promise to strengthen the positions of the two ministers.

Ninon Renaud

Correspondent in Berlin