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Stop the world. Germany is stepping off

来源:FT中文网    2017-11-29 07:23

        When last did a nation collapse under the unbearable weight of its prosperity? For a visitor in Berlin, Germany’s coalition talks straddled the line between complacency and smugness. Elsewhere, European politicians are struggling to balance the books by cutting education spending and capping pensions. Angela Merkel and her prospective coalition partners spent a fruitless month arguing about how to share out the rich spoils of economic success.        上一次有国家在不能承受的繁荣之重下崩溃是什么时候?在造访柏林的旅人看来,德国的组阁谈判是身在福中不知福,有时简直到了令人生厌的地步。在欧洲其他地方,政治家们正疲于通过削减教育支出和养老金封顶来平衡收支。安格拉•默克尔(Angela Merkel)和她潜在的联盟伙伴浪费了一个月的时间来争论如何分享经济成功的丰厚成果。
        If you believe the headlines, the failure of the chancellor’s Christian Democrats and their Bavarian sister party, the CSU, to strike a deal with the economically liberal Free Democrats and the leftish Greens has plunged the nation into crisis. No one has told the well-heeled Christmas shoppers crowding Berlin’s stores. Wages are high, unemployment is low and the government is awash with cash. Crisis, Germans are asking, what crisis?        如果你相信这些头条新闻,德国总理领导的的基督教民主联盟(CDU,简称:基民盟)及其巴伐利亚州的姊妹党基督教社会联盟(CSU,简称:基社盟)未能与奉行经济自由立场的自由民主党(Free Democratic Party,简称:自民党)和左派的绿党(Greens)敲定协议一事,已经使这个国家陷入危机。没人把这件事告诉挤在柏林的商店内为圣诞节购物的富人。工资高、失业率低,政府现金充裕。德国人在问:危机?什么危机?
        The country has turned inward as well as rightward. The politics of plenty might have persuaded an earlier generation of postwar politicians to raise their sights to the future of Europe. Not this one. Now what you catch is a visible irritation with the troubles of Germany’s less fortunate partners in the eurozone. If they want to succeed, they should jolly well behave more like, well, Germany.        这个国家已经变得自我封闭,已经向“右”转。经济富足造就的政治局势,可能说服了早先的一代战后政治家把目光投向欧洲的未来。现在这一代政治家可不是这样。现在,对于德国在欧元区内运气没那么好的伙伴国面临的麻烦,你看到的是显而易见的恼怒。如果他们想成功,他们应该表现得更像,呃,德国。
        What was it that Ms Merkel said not so long ago about picking up the torch for liberal democratic values and working with French president Emmanuel Macron to advance the cause of European integration? By the account of those inside the talks, the chancellor now professes indifference. A coalition agreement should say nothing to offend Mr Macron directly. On the other hand, it need not make any commitments.        默克尔不久前说的——接过自由民主价值观的火炬、和法国总统埃马纽埃尔•马克龙(Emmanuel Macron)一起推进欧洲一体化事业——代表了什么?据谈判内部人士说,默克尔如今主张的是冷处理。组阁协议不应该包含任何直接冒犯马克龙的内容。另一方面,它无需作出任何承诺。
        The breakdown of the talks was a shock to Berlin’s political establishment. A deal would be reached, everyone had previously agreed, because the alternatives of a minority government or another election were unthinkable. The Brexit vote in the UK, Donald Trump in the US, even the success of the nativist Alternative for Germany in September’s elections — these are things that should have taught us that politics is no longer played by the old rules.        谈判破裂震惊了柏林政界。每个人之前都认为,会达成组阁协议,因为少数派政府和再举行一次大选这两个替代选择都是不可想象的。英国退欧公投、美国的唐纳德•特朗普(Donald Trump)、甚至奉行本土主义的德国新选择党(Alternative for Germany)在9月选举中的成功——这些都应该告诉我们,政治的游戏规则变了。
        Germany may have to get used to a new dynamic. By taking nearly 13 per cent of the vote, the AfD changed the arithmetic of traditional coalition building. Add its share to the 9 per cent score of the formerly communist Die Linke and more than a fifth of the seats in the Bundestag are now occupied by MPs shunned by the political mainstream. The permutations for workable coalitions have shrunk accordingly.        德国可能不得不习惯一种新节奏。德国新选择党拿到了接近13%的选票,这改变了传统的组阁算法。再加上前共产主义政党德国左派党(Die Linke)拿到的9%的选票,德国联邦议院(Bundestag)超过五分之一的席位如今都属于被政治主流闪避的议员。可行的组阁方案也相应减少了。
        Political calculation on the part of the Free Democrats rather than irreconcilable policy collisions with the Christian Democrats and Greens scuppered Ms Merkel’s hopes for a Jamaica coalition — so called because the three parties’ colours match that of the Caribbean nation’s flag. There were real differences — about immigration controls, climate change, Europe, and tax and spending — but a mix of compromises and fudges had all but closed even the gaps between the Greens and the CSU.        扼杀默克尔组建“牙买加联盟”(联盟中三党的代表色与这个加勒比国家的国旗颜色一致)希望的是自民党方面的政治盘算,而不是它与基民盟和绿党之间什么不可调和的政策冲突。它们之间确实在移民控制、气候变化、欧洲一体化以及税收和开支等问题上存在分歧,但是就连绿党和基社盟之间的分歧也几乎快要凭借一系列妥协和敷衍弥合了。
        The negotiators had money to burn. Publicly, they acknowledged that rising federal budget surpluses would give a new government a dowry of €30bn to spend on tax cuts and/or spending increases during its first year. According to one insider, the true figure was closer to €60bn. The politicians kept quiet because it would have been embarrassing to admit such riches while Germany’s neighbours struggle with austerity.        谈判者有的是钱。他们公开承认,不断增长的联邦预算盈余将赠予新政府300亿欧元的嫁妆,让其可以在上台第一年用于减税和(或)增加支出。据一位内部人士透露,真实数字接近600亿欧元。政客们没声张,是因为不好意思在邻居们过着紧巴巴的日子时承认德国这么有钱。
        The FDP’s decision to collapse the talks owed more to political positioning than to the arguments about taxes and spending. The party has not yet recovered from the trauma of its last coalition with Ms Merkel — an interlude that saw it wiped out in the Bundestag at the subsequent election.        自民党摧毁谈判的决定更多地应归结为政治定位,而不是有关税收和支出的主张。该政党还没有从上一次与默克尔组阁的创伤中恢复过来——那次组阁见证了该政党在随后的选举中失去了在德国联邦议院的全部席位。
        Its youthful leader Christian Lindner has decided that this time around the party should strike a nationalist pose. He has taken a hard line against Mr Macron’s eurozone plans and toughened up its stance on migration. Some in Berlin recall that the Free Democrats started out in the 1950s as a home for rightwing nationalists. Mr Lindner, they say, hopes to draw support from the AfD by returning the party to its roots.        自民党年轻的领导人克里斯蒂安•林德纳(Christian Lindner)决定,这一次应该确立民族主义姿态。他对马克龙的欧元区计划采取强硬立场,对移民的立场也变得更加强硬。柏林有人回忆说,自民党在20世纪50年代作为右翼民族主义者的大本营而起家。他们表示,林德纳希望通过让自民党回归本源来吸引一些德国新选择党的支持者。
        For her part, Ms Merkel is down, but not out. The disgruntled in her own party lack an alternative candidate. The pundits who were certain of a Jamaica coalition are now equally sure that she will be forced into another election. They could be wrong again. After a bruising defeat in September, when they recorded their worst ever vote, the Social Democrats refused to join another grand coalition. But would they really prefer a second election? The chancellor says she does not want to lead a minority government. She could also change her mind.        默克尔已经失败了,但还没有出局。基民盟党内对她不满的人缺少替代人选。那些曾坚信会达成“牙买加联盟”的专家们如今又同样坚定地相信她将被迫参加另一场选举。他们可能会再错一次。在9月遭遇惨败(创下了有史以来最糟得票率)后,社会民主党(Social Democratic Party)拒绝加入又一届大联合政府。但他们真的宁愿进行第二次选举吗?默克尔表示,她不想领导一个少数派政府。她也可以改变主意。
        Germany wants nothing to disturb its present good fortune. Ms Merkel has the looks of a politician who has run out of energy and ideas. It is not clear the people are terribly bothered. “It was the right thing to do,” she still insists of her decision in 2015 to open Germany’s borders to the flood of Syrian refugees. Then the caveat: “I promise never to do it again.” The contradiction offers a fair description of the nation’s political mood.        德国不想有任何事影响自己目前的好运。默克尔看上去像一个精力和才智都耗光了的政客。目前尚不清楚德国人民是否非常烦恼。“当时那样做是正确的。”她仍然坚持2015年向叙利亚难民开放德国边境的决定没错。然后附上一句:“我保证再也不这么做了。”这一前后矛盾的表态,公正地描述了这个国家的政治情绪。
        The writer at present is a Richard von Weizsäcker Fellow of the Robert Bosch Academy in Berlin        本文作者目前是柏林罗伯特•博世基金会(Robert Bosch Academy)理查德•冯•魏茨泽克(Richard von Weizsäcker)研究员

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