Schaeuble Sees Volatile Markets If Merkel Coalition Doesn’t WinRainer Buergin
German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble said he expects financial-market turbulence if election results don’t show a clear majority for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling coalition on Sept. 22.
Schaeuble told Christian Democratic Union supporters in his constituency in the town of Appenweier that the opposition Social Democratic Party’s leader Sigmar Gabriel is preparing for a government that includes the Greens and the anti-capitalist Left Party if Merkel and her Free Democrat allies don’t get enough votes.
“If there is no clear election result for us, it’s going to be pretty exciting, but it’s an excitement I can do without because it would mean that the situation in Germany is unstable,” Schaeuble said. “If we don’t have a majority for the coalition on the evening of the 22nd, just watch the Dow Jones the next day.”
Support for Merkel’s CDU and its Bavarian sister party, the Christian Social Union, dropped a percentage point to 41 percent in an Infratest poll released on Aug. 30, while the FDP held at 5 percent. Their combined tally of 46 percent would probably be enough to maintain the current coalition if repeated on election day.
Gabriel’s SDP, which chose former Finance Minister Peer Steinbrueck to challenge Merkel, gained two points to 26 percent, while its preferred coalition partner, the Green party, dropped a point to 11 percent. The Left Party had 8 percent, down one point. Infratest polled 1,500 voters on Aug. 27-28. No margin of error was given.
“I don’t really care what Mr. Steinbrueck says he will or will not do,” Schaeuble said. “It won’t be so important afterward.”
Schaeuble said his Aug. 20 revelation that Greece will need more aid was meant to deflect any accusations that the government is hiding an unpleasant truth until after the election. It also made clear that Greece won’t get another debt cut, he said.
Merkel’s crisis course received a boost on Aug. 30 as figures showed economic confidence in the 17-nation euro region rising to a two-year high in August. That added to German economic growth of 0.7 percent in the second quarter that helped haul the bloc out of its longest-ever recession and unemployment of 6.8 percent, near a two-decade low.
The German-led path of aid in return for reforms and debt cuts is “showing the first signs of success,” Merkel said at a campaign rally in the western town of Minden on Aug. 29. “But if we go about it wrongly then this success can be destroyed.”
Schaeuble said Germany relies on Europe for most of its exports and praised crisis countries for making progress. Bailouts so far have cost German tax payers hardly anything and only lying “demagogues” offer voters easy answers such as a German exit from the euro to be better off, he said.
“The risks won’t materialize in Ireland,” Schaeuble said. “In Greece we’re not out of the woods yet, but have made good progress.”