Morning Briefing Robin Hood Asks Rich for Vote

SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz is trying to correct his image of someone robbing the rich and giving to the poor, as his campaign sputters.

SPD chancellor candidate Martin Schulz is losing momentum following his party’s state election defeats in Saarland in March and Schleswig-Holstein on Sunday. The Social Democrats in North Rhine-Westphalia are now quaking in their boots, as their Christian Democratic rivals in that state, led by Armin Laschet, advance in the polls – all the more so since Laschet is colorless and uncharismatic, and should be easy to beat. But Schulz’s most dangerous adversary right now is not the CDU but the despondency within his own ranks.

In his keynote speech on economic policy yesterday, Schulz tried to correct his image as a modern-day Robin Hood obsessed with robbing the rich and giving to the poor. Addressing hundreds of corporate bosses, he talked about digitalization and incentives for investors and said “nein” to “unrealizable welfare promises.” It’s about time. Someone must have tipped off Schulz that the German economy is booming and that the majority of voters don’t feel marginalized.

The Working Group of Tax Forecasters today will start discussing new revenue forecasts for the state coffers. That will be another sign that Germany isn’t exactly facing penury. According to our sources, the federal government is expecting €55 billion more in tax revenues for federal, state and local governments than it estimated in November last year. Such numbers are the ingredients that Chancellor Angela Merkel’s campaign will use to cook up a victory in September.

After E.ON ran up a record €16 billion annual loss last year, it rebounded to profitability in the first quarter of this year, according to results published on Tuesday.  The Essen-based energy company has been struggling after spinning off its fossil-fuel power generation assets into a new company, Uniper, as part of a corporate restructuring. For CEO Johannes Teyssen, it’s one thing to turn the company green, but it’s another to keep the numbers in the black.

Over 200 guests at the Bonn Academy for Research and Teaching of Practical Politics (BAPP) listened to a vocal yet thoughtful Jean-Claude Juncker yesterday. The president of the European Commission didn’t feel like celebrating Emmanuel Macron’s election victory because he believes the threat remains: More than 11 million French voters chose Marine Le Pen. But Juncker saw his biggest opponents not among national leaders but among the press. As satirist Kurt Tucholsky once said: “If newspapers removed the bold print, how much quieter our world would be.”

Picture of the Day

A girl is looking at a mural by British street artist Banksy on a house in Dover, England, depicting a worker chipping away at one of the 12 stars of the EU flag.