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The End of Consensus

When Gerhard Schröder was first elected Chancellor 5 years ago, the lynchpin of his economic strategy was the BĂŒndnis fĂŒr Arbeit, or Alliance for Jobs, meetings of top officials from industry and labor moderated by the Chancellor that would reach consensus on the measures needed for economic reform in Germany.

In those five years, the Alliance for Jobs has sputtered off and on, mostly off, as industry and labor accused one another of sabotaging the talks. This winter Schröder tried to revive the Alliance, but after a preliminary meeting Monday he declared the Alliance for Jobs for dead, and that he would present his own proposals for economic reform in an address on March 14.

This may be a significant move by Schröder to move away from the unions and show real leadership, a sign that he is willing to work together with opposition to pull Germany out of its economic crisis. Or it may be just a lot of hot air. But in case the change is for real, it has now begun.

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