The struggles within the German “traffic light coalition” of reds (social democrats), yellows (liberals) and greens (greens) are the result of the unusual composition of the current government coalition. The FDP and the Greens, normally diametrically opposed on many issues, are forced to work together. This is particularly true in the area of climate.
Negotiations in recent days have focused on measures to make transport greener. The parties agreed to raise the toll for trucks and use the proceeds to expand the rail network. The FDP will welcome the intention to classify 144 highway projects as “of exceptional importance”, which should accelerate the pace of construction. Solar panels will be installed along every kilometer of newly built motorway, a demand from the Greens.
About the Author
Maarten Albers is general rapporteur of by Volkskrant.
No ban on oil combustion plants
Another point of contention was a possible ban on oil and gas heating, a plan by Greens Minister Robert Habeck for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. The coalition parties also seem to have reached a compromise on this point, although the details are not yet entirely clear.
There will be no ban on the operation of oil-fired installations. Heating systems that can operate in the future with emission-free fuels (such as hydrogen) could also remain. At the same time, the parties wish to encourage the installation of climate-friendly heating, without incurring excessive costs for citizens.
When it took office more than a year ago, the traffic light coalition had big ambitions in the field of climate. But after painful electoral losses for the FDP – the party did not cross the electoral threshold in the Länder of Berlin, Saarland and Lower Saxony – the liberals began to retreat.
Greens minister accuses coalition partner of leaks
Last week, Minister Habeck’s heating plans leaked to Picturebefore they are finalized. Habeck blamed his Liberal coalition partners for the leak, but they pointed the finger at the minister himself. Chancellor Scholz’s SPD tried to calm the open dispute.
Sunday evening, the parties of the coalition met for the first time for crisis consultations, but after twenty hours they had to break them without result. Negotiations continued on Tuesday morning, with a positive outcome in the end.
SPD party chairman Lars Klingbeil described the negotiations as a “struggle”, but ultimately said he was “very satisfied” with the outcome. According to Greens president Ricarda Lang, these were “certainly not easy negotiations”, and the tone between the parties was “rough” at times. However, she did not name the coalition partner FDP, but the opposition party CDU, as guilty. Under CDU Chancellor Merkel, according to Lang, “much has been left behind” in the area of climate, among other things.
FDP leader Lindner also admitted that the publicly fought disagreement had not been productive. “People are silent and talk to each other”, he sums up the desired and finally found way of negotiating. According to him, this led to an agreement that everyone can agree on and received something. If such a result still comes out, the coalition should hold “three-day coalition talks every month,” Lindner said.
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