In foreign policy, Germany continued its active participation in the CSCE process, in further European integration (Treaty of Amsterdam 1997, Treaty of Nice 2001) as well as in the international resolution of conflicts (including participation in the NATO peacekeeping forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina after the Resolution of the Bundestag of December 6, 1995, then also in connection with the Kosovo crisis in 1998/99; high financial aid for crisis areas, including in the Middle East and Africa) and particularly supported the efforts of the so-called transition states in East-Central and Southeastern Europe towards economic and political development Rapprochement with the European Union.
Red-green government (1998-2005)
In the federal elections on September 27, 1998, the SPD won under its candidate for Chancellor G. Schröder . He was elected Chancellor on October 27, 1998 at the head of a cabinet formed by the SPD and Bündnis 90 / Die Grünen.
From the beginning, Schröder’s government was faced with the task of countering the reform backlog in the country and taking drastic measures to maintain and strengthen Germany as a business location, v. a. to initiate against the persistent weak growth and increasing unemployment, as well as the restructuring of the social systems to secure them. A compromise on a long-term nuclear phase – out was agreed with leading German energy providers (June 2000). After lengthy negotiations (from the end of 1998) it was also possible to agree on compensation for Nazi forced laborers (December 17, 1999) and an agreement between the Federal Government Commissioner, O. Graf Lambsdorff , Representatives of the US government and the approximately 1.5 million surviving victims from Israel, Russia, Poland, the Ukraine, the Czech Republic and Belarus as well as the negotiator of the German economy to sign (July 17, 2000, forced labor). Learn more about Germany and Europe, please click areacodesexplorer.com.
On April 19, 1999, the German Bundestag met for the first time in its new seat in Berlin (converted Reichstag building); Most of the Federal Government’s move to Berlin took place in August 1999. The German Bundestag and Federal Government have had their seat in Berlin since 1999, and the Bundesrat since May 2000. On May 23, 1999, J. Rau (SPD) was elected Federal President (in office from July 1, 1999 to July 1, 2004).
In the context of the NATO alliance and European integration, Germany sought to redefine its foreign policy role and international obligations and participated in the NATO air strikes against Yugoslavia (March 24th – June 10th, 1999) and the NATO Operation in Macedonia in August / September 2001 for the first time on military missions.
Confronted with new alliance and global political obligations after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001 in the USA, the German government initially declared its unrestricted support for the USA and involved the Bundeswehr in the Afghanistan peacekeeping force (ISAF, from 2014 Mission “Resolute Support”). However, the federal government ruled out the participation of German troops in a possible US military operation against Iraq. Their negative attitude towards military intervention (3rd Gulf War, March / April 2003) led to a crisis of confidence in the relationship with the USA and Great Britain and also strained relations within Europe.
In the federal elections on September 22, 2002, the red-green coalition under Schröder (re-election of the Federal Chancellor and swearing-in of the cabinet on October 22) was confirmed with a narrow majority. H. Köhler (CDU) was elected Federal President on May 23, 2004 (took office on July 1, re-election in 2009).
The most pressing domestic political problem remained high unemployment, which the Schröder government and others caused. sought to respond with an extensive reform program (Agenda 2010). The Hartz IV reform in particular aroused the anger of those affected and those who might be affected. A few months before the reform came into force on January 1, 2005, there were weeks of protest demonstrations – in the east of v. a. Supported by the PDS, in the western federal states disappointed SPD and trade union members formed the electoral alternative work and social justice (WASG).
In October 2003 the Bundestag and Bundesrat set up a joint commission chaired by E. Stoiber and F. Müntefering , which was supposed to present proposals for a fundamental reform of the federal state structure (federalism). A redistribution of responsibilities between the federal and state governments should ensure their freedom of action and decision-making, expediency and efficiency in fulfilling their tasks, and make political responsibility clear. However, the commission was unable to agree on a joint draft by the final meeting on December 17, 2004.
In view of a series of electoral defeats by the SPD, most recently in the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia on May 22, 2005, and the resulting increased dominance of the opposition in the Bundesrat as well as considerable criticism from within the party, Schröder put the vote of confidence in the Bundestag on July 1, 2005 with the aim of bringing about new elections; In doing so, he cited the limited capacity of his government to act. The Federal President agreed to the premature dissolution of the Bundestag and set early elections for the Bundestag for September 18. fixed.