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"Divorce Papers:" The End of the SPD-FDP Coalition (September 9, 1982)

On September 9, 1982, Economics Minister Otto Graf Lambsdorff of the Free Democrats submitted a “concept for a policy to overcome weak growth and to fight unemployment.” Based on free-market principles, it acted as a catalyst for the final rupture of the SPD-FDP coalition. For this reason, it is often referred to as the coalition’s “divorce papers.”

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Concept for Policies to Overcome Weak Growth and to Fight Unemployment


After improvements in important basic conditions (wage and interest developments, trade balance) and a slight rise in production in the first quarter of 1982, the economic situation and the preconditions for a rapid upswing have been worsening once again since the end of spring:

– Unexpectedly strong decline in foreign demand with stagnating and, as of late, regressive domestic demands
– Worsening of the business climate and of future expectations for the economy (test by IFO, Institute for Economic Research)
– Cuts in industrial production
– Rise in unemployment and increased insolvencies

Interest rates have started dropping once again after a temporary interruption; the rates continue to remain relatively high, however, despite the generally adequate monetary policies of the German Central Bank [Bundesbank].

This renewed worsening of the situation is partly a response to processes in the international sphere (prolonged weakness of the global economy, uncertain economic and interest-rate developments in the United States, U.S.-European controversies). The global economy as a whole is evidently experiencing a persistent stabilization- and adaptation-crisis. Inflation rates are still very high and unemployment is continuing to rise, serving to prolong the period of weak growth in North America and Europe considerably. By now, Japan has also been drawn into it. Weak growth worldwide, however, should not belie the fact that the present global economic difficulties are the sum of undesirable developments in individual countries and that an essential part of the causes of our domestic economic problems should be sought in our own country.

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