Germany – traffic light coalition: almost noiseless in the home straight

The Greens and the FDP wanted to avoid the mistakes of the past. When both parties negotiated a coalition with the Conservative Union four years ago, content-related dissonances and personal animosities were constantly leaked to the media. Accordingly, the atmosphere for discussion adapted to the late autumn temperatures. Now eco-party and liberals are working together with the SPD on the first so-called traffic light coalition at the federal level in Germany. This time only little gets outside. The main negotiators of the three parties will meet on Wednesday, and the coalition agreement should be in place by the end of the week at the latest. Time is of the essence because Olaf Scholz (SPD) is to be elected Chancellor in the Bundestag the week after next. Before that, it is still necessary to obtain the approval of the coalition agreement from the members (Greens) and, in the case of the Social Democrats, at a party congress.

There is no doubt that these majorities will come about. The SPD will not fail to appoint the Chancellor again after a 16-year waiting period. The green party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck have been striving to participate in government for years. The loudest dissenting voices came from the FDP: some are strangers to an alliance with two center-left forces, and party leader Christian Lindner is not a big fan of traffic lights. Again, as in 2017, he cannot let negotiations break. Scholz, meanwhile, rejoices: “What goes together grows together” – the “traffic light” as an analogy to Willy Brandt’s famous words after the fall of the Berlin Wall, now what belongs together is growing together.

Baerbock gave far less enthusiastic insights: “We were fed up because we had the feeling that only the Greens are responsible for climate protection.” About two weeks ago, the negotiators briefly broke their public silence, and frustration with the eco party came to light because they were supposedly constantly being overruled by the SPD and FDP in working groups. The other negotiating partners criticized the allegedly poor preparation and lack of knowledge among the Greens. In the meantime, the three parties are again taking criticism from behind the media. Baerbock strikes a conciliatory tone that the coalition is bringing “a real breakthrough” in some areas.

Upgraded Ministry of the Environment

How specific this looks, for example in terms of climate protection and digitization, is meanwhile often unclear. However, there have been indications of an earlier coal phase-out recently. According to the Reuters news agency, which on Tuesday referred to “those involved in the talks”, the last coal pile should be taken offline by 2030, eight years earlier than previously planned. This would fulfill a core concern of the Greens, who, according to reports, will also receive an upgraded climate ministry.

How the other departmental competencies are divided and who heads which ministry has not yet been made public. FDP boss Lindner should look at the Ministry of Finance – according to reports, with success. In the SPD, apart from Chancellor Scholz, only Hubertus Heil has been determined, who was already Minister of Labor in the black-red coalition.

This government is currently still in office. Ironically, in the fourth wave of corona, there is a decision-making vacuum: Chancellor Angela Merkel can no longer make far-reaching decisions, and the “traffic light” parties have been keeping an eye on government negotiations for too long instead of pandemic management.

On one question, red, green and yellow agreed early on: The “epidemic situation of national scope” decided by the Union and the SPD should end this Thursday as planned by law. This meant that competencies temporarily passed to Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) should be transferred back to the Bundestag, including the procurement of vaccines. However, serious cuts such as exit restrictions were linked to the epidemic situation. Since this will no longer apply, much to the annoyance of the CDU / CSU, school closings are possible, but no longer nationwide.

Will the vaccination be compulsory?

In view of the fact that the corona vaccination rate is too low, as in Austria, the number of people infected and hospitalized is also increasing sharply in Germany. The green health politician Janosch Dahmen is already expecting regional lockdowns in Saxony and Bavaria, and compulsory vaccination is also being discussed. In the Infection Protection Act recently passed by the “Ampel” parties in the Bundestag, an evaluation is planned for December 9th. It is quite possible that in the week of Scholz ?? Inauguration of the Chancellor must announce tougher Covid measures.