Germany: what the government agreement between SPD, environmentalists and liberals contains

The tempo is accelerating in Germany: the Social Democrats, who won the elections of September 26, the Greens and the Liberals announced on Friday a preliminary agreement to form a government, no doubt led by Olaf Scholz (SPD, social- Democrats), who would succeed Angela Merkel.

The three parties, which would form an unprecedented coalition at the head of Germany, have drawn up a document of a dozen pages summarizing their points of agreement and the reforms they intend to carry out in the next four years. On the menu: no tax increase – a red line drawn by the liberals, who came fourth in the election but in a position, with the “Grünen”, of kingmakers – respect for debt rules and an early exit coal by 2030, compared to 2038 initially planned. A speed limit on the motorway, one of the demands of environmentalists, is however not retained.

“We have indeed managed to agree on a document. It is a very good result, it clearly shows that a government can be formed in Germany”, greeted the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, probable future chancellor, during a press statement with the leaders of the ecologist and liberal parties.

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Traffic light

On the basis of the document presented on Friday, the three parties, with very different programs, will then deepen their talks and open official negotiations addressing, point by point, all the details of a future alliance. The decision to formalize the negotiations is pending consultations with the executives of the parties concerned, including a mini-congress of the Greens this weekend, but the result is not in doubt.

If the negotiations are successful, a coalition between these three parties should take control of Germany by the end of the year. Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU-CSU union risks joining the opposition benches, after 16 years in power, and experiencing difficult months, between settling scores and defining a new political line.

The new coalition, dubbed “traffic light” because of the colors associated with each party, is desired by nearly two-thirds of Germans (62%), according to a poll published on Friday. Olaf Scholz’s popularity is even higher, with three out of four people saying it would be “good” for him to become chancellor.

“Building bridges”

If the coalition comes to power, however, it will have its work cut out for it, in a delicate context for the German economy, weakened by shortages of raw materials and components. The goal of drastically reducing emissions will also require huge investments in construction and transport.

Greens and FDP, who are not natural allies, will see if they can overcome their differences on issues such as climate protection, taxation and public spending. But both parties have said they want to “build bridges” in order to govern. The three parties want at all costs to avoid a repeat of 2017, when the FDP dramatically quit coalition negotiations with the Conservatives and the Greens, leading to months of negotiations and paralysis in Europe.

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“On the whole, one can feel that a new beginning is possible here, supported by the three parties which meet here”, summarized Olaf Scholz.


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