And if Schäuble had been chancellor in 2016?

friedrich Merz promises not to hold a history lesson. But he had to name three crucial dates when it came to Wolfgang Schäuble go, on whose 80th birthday the CDU chairman is to give a laudatory speech in Offenburg on Sunday. First, the date of the signing of the unification treaty between the Federal Republic and the GDR – September 23, 1990. Schäuble led the negotiations on behalf of the West.

The second date is June 20, 1991. In a heated Bundestag debate about the move of parliament and government from Bonn to Berlin, Schäuble gave a speech that may have made a decisive contribution to the later decision in favor of Berlin. Both Union and SPD deputies applauded standing, which Merz recalls.

And Merz mentions October 12, 1990, shortly after reunification: in Oppenau, just a few kilometers from Offenburg, Schäuble's hometown, the life-threatening assassination attempt on the Interior Minister at the time took place almost 32 years ago. Two shots from close range meant that he had to be in a wheelchair from then on. Schäuble continued to do politics.

How would Schäuble's career have gone without the assassination?

“Would German post-war history have been different without October 12?” Merz now asks. He only mentions the years 1998 and 2016, nothing more. The listener thinks: If it were Schäuble instead Helmut Kohl If you ran for office in 1998, wouldn't the Union have been defeated? Would Schäuble, who was critical of the chancellor's refugee course, have decided differently in the aftermath of 2015? A small hint is about the incomplete Schäuble, who never became chancellor, but shaped the country like few others.

Great reception for an unfinished work: Schäuble on Sunday in Offenburg

Great reception for an unfinished work: Schäuble on Sunday in Offenburg

Image: Verena Mueller

Winfried Kretschmann (Greens), the other speaker this morning, says that apart from the Federal Chancellor, he can only think of a few people who would have achieved Schäuble's "effectiveness". In the five decades that he has been in the Bundestag, Schäuble has become someone who has created "stock and foundation" for the decisions of the chancellor. Kretschmann is reminded of the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales, on which is written "I serve". "Your entire political life is based on this motto," says Kretschmann, addressing Schäuble. What you can study with Max Weber in "Politics as a Profession" you can tell from him, Schäuble: passion, struggle and leadership, but also a sense of proportion.

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