Without these three politicians nothing works at the traffic light

SThey make multiple phone calls every day, keep in touch via video and SMS, and regularly see each other face-to-face. They are political competitors and yet they work very closely together. They stay away from the public. Although you don't know them, the following applies: Without them, the traffic lights in Berlin would not work. We are talking about Wolfgang Schmidt, Anja Hajduk and Steffen Saebisch. Everyone knows their bosses: Olaf Scholz, Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner. They are sent by them to coordinate the ministries of the federal government. Schmidt does it for the SPD, Hajduk for the Greens, Saebisch for the FDP.

At the same time, they must find common ground for all three parties so that governance in the three-party constellation works. The task of the trio is to identify as many problems as possible at an early stage and to anticipate conflicts. So to anticipate them before they erupt with force. And if they do break out, to settle them as quickly as possible. The three are an early warning system for their bosses, parties and ministries, for the traffic light government as a whole. It's best if you don't notice them at all. Like brownies. They pull the weeds at night, and in the morning the gardens tended by the ministers look beautiful.

All three do not talk about the details of their exchange. But a little can be elicited from them what they do in the machinery of power. Recently about have scholz, Lindner and Habeck sat down to negotiate the coalition's relief package. Schmidt, Hajduk and Saebisch assisted them. When the coalition committee then met for 22 hours on the first weekend in September, when the kitchen in the Chancellery closed at 10 p.m. and the coalition partners had to rely on the candy supplies, there was only Schmidt in the group as head of the Chancellery.

Down to earth, wide awake, sociable

But Anja Hajduk and Steffen Saebisch were also awake and remained available for their bosses, and Schmidt kept texting them. And Saebisch, for example, had set up a back office structure for the FDP people in the coalition committee. On Saturday morning he was still in the Chancellery for the preliminary meeting of the FDP people. His mission was there, to bring the current situation in the other parties closer to the liberal group. A briefing according to the motto: This is coming to you now. Later he was with a small team of employees in the Federal Ministry of Finance, to do some preliminary work or to answer questions, for example whether what is planned politically can be implemented administratively. He drove home around half past twelve and continued to work from there.

Steffen Saebisch (FDP)

Steffen Saebisch (FDP)

Image: imago images/photothek

The 51-year-old lawyer worked out the traffic light alliance, FDP boss Lindner had brought him in before the coalition negotiations as a kind of right-hand man. Until then, Saebisch had been the general manager of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation in Potsdam, a job in which he had earned a good reputation in seven years, as well as the sympathy of his colleagues, who even prepared a hot sauce "à la Saebisch" at the barbecue to mark his farewell. served because he had always enjoyed them so much. Before that, Saebisch had been head of office in the Hessian Ministry of Economics for five years, so he knew how to coordinate a cross-divisional department. He had previously headed the planning staff of the FDP parliamentary group. And the lawyer also knew the private sector, working as a lawyer in Berlin. These are experiences that are now worth their weight in gold for Lindner.

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