Possible government coalitions will take completely different paths to advance climate protection, shape digitalisation and finance the national budget with tax policy.

Rarely before has the outcome of a federal election been so open, while the major social and industrial policy challenges such as Covid or climate protection must be mastered with unchanged urgency.

In the latest episode of the VDMA (German machinery manufacturers association) Industry Podcast, VDMA executive director Thilo Brodtmann and WELT domestic policy editor Nikolaus Doll discuss with Ursula Heller (Bayerischer Rundfunk) which stumbling blocks are hidden in the election programs of the major parties, what significance the debt brake still has after Covid, which new laws and ministries would really be necessary – and which would not.

"When it comes to costs and impositions, there is a lot of beating around the bush in all the campaign appearances. More is promised than can be delivered. The bill is presented later," Brodtmann complains, adding, "Especially in climate protection, a lot is happening, but it's happening without politicians defining prices and regulating in small ways. Let the market do it!"

And with regard to the financing of the many major government projects, Nikolaus Doll adds: "It is not a good idea to tinker with the debt brake. It has proven to be flexible enough, especially in this crisis, and there is no reason to weaken it."

The podcast panel agrees that a coalition of three parties will not have an easy time finding a common path in the end. The new government will need a common set of values and goals – and the mechanical and plant engineering sector will continue to speak with a clear voice on behalf of the SME industry, affirms the VDMA CEO.