FDP boss Christian Lindner: “With the FDP there are no higher taxes” | free press


In an interview, FDP chairman Christian Lindner made it clear who he can and cannot envision as a coalition partner after the federal election. And explains why his party is in favor of technological openness when it comes to mobility. The interview was conducted by Norbert Wallet.

In an interview, FDP chairman Christian Lindner made it clear who he can and cannot envision as a coalition partner after the federal election. And explains why his party is in favor of technological openness when it comes to mobility. The interview was conducted by Norbert Wallet.

Free press: CDU defense expert Roderich Kiesewetter called it a grave mistake that the coalition voted against a proposal by the Greens in late June to speed up the recruitment of local personnel in Afghanistan. The FDP then abstained from voting. Do you also think that is a mistake?

Christian Linder: No, because we too have applied for a non-bureaucratic visa for local staff in the Bundestag. For the past four years, we have also asked the German government how the situation is analyzed each time Afghanistan’s mandate is extended. We have called for an exit strategy that will give the country a lasting, sustainable security. The evacuation of local personnel would be part of such an exit strategy. It is clear that the mission was strategically mismanaged.

Is the lesson from Afghanistan that military operations are no way to permanently pacify decades of political and social conflict?

I don’t want to take a basic lesson just yet. But whoever engages militarily in such conflicts must know in advance how to get out of it and what can realistically be achieved. In Afghanistan, expectations were clearly too high. Self-sufficient security structures and social progress, for example in women’s rights and education, have not been achieved in the long term.

What do the current events say about the analytical power of our foreign office and our services?

We will have to investigate this question in the coming days. There are indications that warnings from the German embassy would not have led to consequences soon enough. It is therefore possible that local personnel can no longer be evacuated in time. If confirmed, it would have significant political significance.

To domestic politics. Your favorite coalition partner Union is weakening considerably. How do you explain that?

The Union rides on serpentine lines. It amazes me how, within a few weeks in the Union, the announcement of tax cuts in the election manifesto can mean that Armin Laschet does not even clearly rule out tax increases. With the FDP, there are no higher taxes. We want to work on reception, for example with the solidarity allowance. And Mr Söder questions the debt brake, which is also in the election manifesto. There is no mitigation with the FDP. These are our crash barriers. In addition, I miss the factual but insulting debate with the Greens at the Union. Their program is characterized by the most detailed prescriptions for the transformation of everyday life. The state is all responsible for them, they do not shy away from expropriations. I am surprised that this does not play a role for the Union in the dispute in the election campaign. On the contrary, one hears that the Union wants to declare the FDP an opponent of all things.

You say you lack imagination for a traffic light alliance made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. But they don’t turn off the traffic lights either. In plain language, that means: if the content is correct, the FDP could elect Olaf Scholz as chancellor.

That’s a hypothetical question. The programs of the SPD and the Greens are much more closely related to the Left Party than to us. I don’t see how a government can find substantive agreements.

Then you could just turn off the traffic light. But don’t…

In 2017, we proved that what matters to us is content, not government posts. So we don’t have to act. However, it would be up to the SPD and the Greens to rule out cooperation with the left. Because both rule in Bremen with the Left Party, although the Greens would also have had the choice of Jamaica.

Climate policy dominates the election campaign. The FDP wants to reduce CO2 emissions by means of certificate trading. It will be some time before this tool is launched globally or even across Europe. Until then, shouldn’t we just do it at the national level, including bans and fixed maximum limits?

In Germany, let’s start with the CO2 ceiling, which is subject to market competition. So certificate trading in Germany. Extensive trade in CO2 certificates is also planned for the middle of the decade in the new EU climate programme. We must move forward as pioneers. It cannot continue as before. Our climate policy still follows the concepts of Jürgen Trittin.

Armin Laschet has been derided by Elon Musk for believing that the competition for new propulsion technologies between electric motors and hydrogen technology has not yet been decided. Musk also laughed at your point of view…

New. But Mr. Musk would not be an objective advisor either. It only represents the interests of a pure electrical manufacturer. I think we will have different drives. Electric motors have their place in large cities or in second vehicles. Hydrogen propulsion will play a role in trucks and commercial vehicles. But what is still completely underestimated is the role of synthetic fuels. Climate-neutral liquid fuels can be used CO2-neutrally in combustion engines. We must remain open to that.

So at the FDP there is no end date for the combustion engine?

Yes, I think such statements are wrong. I can imagine an end date for fossil fuels. This automatically arises from the certificate trade. At some point, fossil fuels will no longer make economic sense because they are too expensive. Then the time has come for climate-neutral fuels. That will be the case by the 1930s at the latest. The problem is not the combustion engine, but the type of fuel.

What is your promise to join a federal government: no tax increases with the FDP or even noticeable tax cuts for middle society?

There are two guardrails: no tax increases and no easing of the constitution’s debt brake. Within these barriers, a negotiation process will have to take place between the coalition partners.

Guardrail is another word for the condition of joining a coalition?

Yes. The FDP wants to drop the definition of the pandemic situation of national scope. We already say that today.

Why actually? You don’t even know today how the fourth wave will develop in the fall?

The concept of a pandemic situation of national magnitude gives the impression of being a health policy determination. In fact, it is a legal political one. It concerns special powers of the federal government vis-à-vis parliament. And that is exactly what is no longer necessary. The Bundestag is fully capable of acting and can enable the federal government to react quickly. We are not interested in declaring the end of the pandemic. But with the normal cooperation of government and parliament, we can cope with the pandemic. (wall)

The interview took place last Monday at 3 p.m. in Berlin.