In the wake of the Bundestag election on 26 September 2021, the SPD, Greens and FDP are hoping to form Germany’s future federal government. Almost a month after the election, the three parties are beginning official coalition negotiations to this end. The idea is for the alliance to be in place before Christmas. We present an overview of the initial decisions taken by the potential government partners and the sticking points that the negotiations will need to resolve over the next few weeks:
Results of the exploratory talks:
Before the start of the coalition negotiations, the SPD, Greens and FDP held exploratory talks to ascertain the potential for forming a joint government. The outcome was a twelve-page document that already set out some preliminary decisions: for example, the statutory minimum wage is to be raised to twelve euros per hour. The voting age for the Bundestag and for the European parliament is to be lowered to 16. 400,000 new homes will be the target per year. There will be no speed limit on Germany’s autobahns.
The contentious issue of financial policy:
The three parties want to invest heavily, first and foremost in climate protection, digitisation and education. There is talk of a total of 50 billion euros in additional investment each year. At the same time, taxes are not to be raised, and the debt ceiling is to be maintained. There is likely to be tough negotiations on how to finance these policies.
Focus on climate protection:
The expansion of renewable energies is to be “drastically” accelerated, agree the SPD, Greens and FDP. To this end, new commercial buildings are to be obliged to install solar panels, for example. The phase-out of coal, which was originally planned to be completed by 2038, should “ideally” be achieved by 2030. One central topic in the talks is also likely to be energy prices, as petrol and heating prices are skyrocketing.
The allocation of posts is normally something that comes at the end of coalition negotiations. However, there already appears to be debate over who will head the important Ministry of Finance. Possible candidates are both the FDP leader Christian Lindner and Greens co-chair Robert Habeck. Furthermore, SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz had always emphasised during the election campaign that his cabinet would be composed of equal numbers of women and men. (with dpa)