The FDP boss spoke to FOCUS about his marriage and questions of faith, warned of “fire-dangerous” tax experiments and praised the ability for self-criticism.
Hardly anyone in the federal government had to put up with more in the first year of the traffic light coalition, hardly anyone recorded more severe election defeats during this time: Christian Lindner, federal finance minister and FDP leader at the same time, saw his party crash in four state elections this year. In Saarland and Lower Saxony, they didn’t even make it into the state parliament.
The voters punished the course of the liberals between red and green, alienated the unloved new political partners and warned against broken campaign promises.
But at least Lindner doesn’t let that sit down in the big FOCUS interview: “It would not only be ideological, but also economically senseless if I, as finance minister, refused the necessary relief just because the FDP election program for 2020 could not foresee this situation .”
Lindner continues: “We cannot leave people alone with their economic worries.” He is “certainly not proud” of the billions in debt that he has had to take on in recent months.
But they are “necessary for the electricity and gas price brake. Otherwise we would be jeopardizing what this country has worked for over decades.” However, he continues to reject tax increases. They “would be a dangerous experiment. I rule that out.”
On the other hand, the 43-year-old knows that he is in a “dilemma”, as he freely admitted to FOCUS.
“Of course, I considered for a long time which strategy to adopt to consolidate the national budget. And of course I have to deal with criticism, which you shouldn’t simply brush off the table with self-confidence.” But he was “convinced that this path will lead to the goal”.
At the next federal election, “the citizens could judge my politics,” said Lindner, who was also self-critical towards FOCUS.
“As finance minister, by the very nature of things, I can’t please anyone because resources are finite. So constant criticism is my companion,” summarizes the FDP man after the first traffic light year.
In view of the war and crisis, that takes a lot of strength, “physically, mentally and intellectually. The time it takes is almost limitless and the scope of the decisions is enormous.”
The goal of getting at least six hours of sleep at night is not always achievable. The government office also teaches him “despite the great influence, above all, humility, because there is often a residual uncertainty: How does Brussels see it? What do the capital markets think? Where do the coalition partners stand?” He has always had the courage to make decisions, but only “growing humility brings the soul into balance”.
Lindner doesn’t have much time for private life, apart from his opulent wedding to TV journalist Franca Lehfeldt in the summer on Sylt. Would he organize the event differently from today’s point of view?
“It wasn’t an event, it was a private life event.” And when FOCUS asked if it wouldn’t have been a bit quieter, Lindner laughed: “As a politician, you have to accept that even for your own wedding, journalists give you censorship. “
Although both spouses have long since left the church, the couple then got married in church. Lindner apparently does not let go of the subject of religion: “Anyone who, like me, leaves the Catholic Church at the age of 18 does not automatically say goodbye to all forms of spirituality. I took my oath of office as Federal Finance Minister with a reference to God. Incidentally, in my family there are almost exclusively Protestant lines.”
When asked whether he might want to re-enter and then possibly convert, the politician was monosyllabic: “It’s not for the public.” At least a denial would sound different.
In any case, politics is not a drug for him – and life without it is quite conceivable: “If I resign from top politics as a member of the government and party chairman, then my wife can concentrate more on her career,” reveals Lindner. “She’s in the first third, I’m already in the middle third of my career.”
He then gave FOCUS a few more TV tips (also for people who are not only interested in the human abyss in politics). He revealed what party colleague Wolfgang Kubicki means to him and why he still wants to complete the “small riding badge”. You can find the whole interview here.