Berlin The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) considers the formation of a traffic light coalition at the federal level to be likely. “In the explorations we created the basic requirements for a traffic light coalition: We built trust,” said Dreyer in an interview with the Handelsblatt.
Dreyer was confident that a possible traffic light government program would be supported by the left wing of the SPD. Forming governments between coalition partners is always a give and take. According to Dreyer, no party can implement its election program one-to-one. “All in all, we were able to achieve a lot of what we set out to do before the election.” For us the SPD, respect in society is a central issue. “This is expressed in the exploratory paper in a minimum wage of twelve euros, the promise of stable pensions or affordable housing.”
Dreyer does not see the danger of headwinds coming from the federal states for a traffic light at the federal level because Manuela Schwesig (SPD) in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Franziska Giffey (SPD) in Berlin had decided against a traffic light and in favor of left-wing alliances. The situation in individual countries is always very specific. “I have never been one of those who believe that the federal states will determine in advance which government will later be established in the federal government, and I am known to lead a traffic light coalition. State and federal level are simply two completely different pairs of shoes, ”said Dreyer.
Read the complete interview here:
Ms. Dreyer, you were part of the SPD’s exploratory team. What does your political gut feeling tell you after the exploratory talks have ended? Does it work with the traffic light?
Malu Dreyer: I think so. In the explorations we created the basic requirements for a traffic light coalition: we built trust. The conversations were very respectful and everyone involved understood the other parties’ attitudes. It was never about winners or losers, but about a common path.
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So the traffic light coalition will be in place until Christmas?
First of all, the three party bodies have to vote for coalition negotiations. Then we will enter into coalition negotiations and hopefully negotiate quickly.
A traffic light in the federal government is something new. How did the negotiations go? Have they all scanned each other first?
You always have to remember: All of them come from the election campaign in which you fought against each other in competition. You have to shake that off for a moment. But all three partners quickly flipped the switch and met each other on a trusting basis.
The SPD has negotiated a minimum wage of twelve euros. In your opinion, is that the most important point for your party?
That was exactly not the point of who gets the most out of himself. If the coalition negotiations are to be successful, all three parties must see themselves as a progressive coalition. But of course, for us as the SPD, respect in society and for the performance of each individual is a central issue. This is expressed in the exploratory paper in a minimum wage of twelve euros, the promise of stable pensions or affordable housing.
What must now be the guiding principle for the upcoming coalition negotiations?
That we are tackling the major challenges such as coping with climate change or digitization with great energy and want to venture into the new decade together. Germany needs a new departure.
A confidence-building measure is without a doubt that nothing leaked out of the exploratory talks. How confident are you that this non-disclosure agreement will hold in coalition talks?
In Rhineland-Palatinate, I have always experienced this kind of confidentiality during the formation of governments, but in the federal government it is something new and very special. Because it shows the people in the country that this formation of a government is about something bigger than the interests of individuals. Namely, to bring the country forward. I very much hope that everyone will adhere to this stipulation in coalition negotiations, even if the negotiating teams are significantly larger.
What will be the most difficult topic in the next few weeks?
You can’t say that. We addressed many topics in the explorations and agreed many preliminary determinations in order to move the negotiations forward. But of course there is much that is only discussed in detail in coalition negotiations.
The traffic light promises some billion dollar promises. Can all of this really be financed under the debt brake?
We discussed finances for a long time and we strongly believe that in the end everything will be financially viable. Many forget that alongside all the necessary government investments, it is a matter of mobilizing private investments. In order for companies to invest more in the future, we have to improve the framework conditions. Faster planning and approval processes play just as important a role as better depreciation conditions.
The SPD also had to swallow a few toads. So there will be no higher taxes for high earners and the wealthy. Are you afraid that the left wing of the SPD might rebel against it?
Forming a government between coalition partners is always a give and take. No party can implement its election manifesto one-to-one. Overall, we were able to achieve a lot of what we set out to do before the election.
In Berlin and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Franziska Giffey (SPD) and Manuela Schwesig (SPD) have just decided against a traffic light and in favor of left-wing alliances. Isn’t that a strong headwind for a traffic light at federal level?
No. The situation in individual countries is always very specific. In both countries the aim was to form the most stable state government possible. And in both countries there are good reasons why Manuela Schwesig and Franziska Giffey made the decision. I have never been one of those who believe that the federal states will determine in advance which government will later be established in the federal government, and I am known to lead a traffic light coalition. State and federal levels are just two completely different pairs of shoes.
More: The original joint paper on the result of the traffic light explorations