And Hans-Olaf Henkel fears any coalition which excludes current Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) will see Germany “slide into disaster”. Mr Henkel, who stood down from the European Parliament in 2019, was speaking in advance of Sunday’s crunch polls, with Politico’s Poll of Polls currently putting Social Democrats (SPD) on 25 percent, three percent ahead of the CDU, with Annalena Baerbock’s Greens on 16 percent.
SPD leader Olaf Scholz, rather than CDU counterpart and Merkel protege Armin Laschet, is therefore in prime position to succeed Mrs Merkel when she formally steps down after the election.
Given the current state of the polls, it is inconceivable that any party will win an overall majority, with another coalition almost guaranteed.
However, Mr Henkel, a former President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), suggested that, whatever the result, Germany’s deference to Brussels will continue.
He explained: “The forthcoming federal elections will accelerate rather than change the direction Germany has moved under Merkel.
“The only difference between the two top contenders is the speed of the acceleration.”
“With CDU candidate Laschet at the helm and a Green coalition partner the country will continue to abdicate responsibilities to Brussels (“More Europe“).”
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“But the alliance with the West could come under stress as the Socialists want to reduce the already insufficient defence spending and taxes will increase significantly.”
Considering the reverse, Mr Henkel said: “If the SPD candidate Scholz will lead the Government together with the CDU you could expect more or less the same as if Laschet would govern with the Social Democrats as his junior partners, however with even higher taxes for business and higher income earners.”
Considering the possibility of a coalition which did not include Mr Laschet’s party, given Mr Scholz has not ruled out working with the far-left Linke party, Mr Henkel warned: “Should Scholz govern without the CDU but with the Greens and the Communists, Germany will slide into a disaster.
“We will see higher taxes, new taxes (such a wealth taxes), and exploding energy costs due to hyper ambitious climate targets.”
Germany faces months of tough negotiations to form a coalition government after the federal election on Sunday, with three parties likely needing to team up to clear the threshold of 50 percent of all seats in the Bundestag after the vote.
The CDU sees the Linke as just as unacceptable as the far-right Alternative for Germany, whom all major parties have vowed to keep out of government.
Mr Scholz has made it clear that the Greens are his preferred partners, but the CDU believe he will need a third party to form a coalition government and argue the Social Democrats are closer to the Linke on social policies than to the pro-business Free Democrats.
In a television debate earlier this month, Mr Laschet told Mr Scholz: “You have to have a clear position on the extremists.
“I don’t understand why it’s so hard for you to say ‘I won’t enter a coalition with this party’.”