German coalition parties reach a deal to form next government
Eight weeks after the federal election, Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) have agreed upon a coalition deal, the details of which are to be announced on Wednesday. Germany looks set to have its next government well before the Christmas holidays.
Traffic light parties wrap up coalition talks
With talks wrapping up on Wednesday after an overnight session to iron out some differences over financial and climate policies, the three “traffic light” coalition parties issued invitations for a press conference at 3 pm. According to the Greens’ invitation, the parties will “present the coalition deal negotiated in the previous weeks.”
The deal will see SPD candidate Olaf Scholz elected as chancellor, most likely in the second week of December. This means that outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel will not surpass the record for days in office, which is currently held by Helmut Kohl.
Likely ministerial postings include FDP Christian Lindner as the new Minister for Finance and the Greens co-chairpeople Robert Habeck and Annalena Baerbock occupying top positions in the Environment, Economy or Foreign Affairs ministries.
Parties agree on “new dynamic” for Germany
In an exploratory paper, previously seen by the German media, the three parties made some “preliminary determinations” and signalled their commitment to a “comprehensive renewal of our country” and a “new dynamic” for Germany in order to cope with major challenges such as climate change, digitisation, prosperity and social cohesion.
It was agreed that no new taxes on assets would be introduced and taxes like income tax, corporate tax or VAT would not be increased. The statutory minimum wage is set to be increased to 12 euros per hour in 2022, a central election promise from the SPD, while the legal voting age for Bundestag and European elections is to be reduced from 18 to 16 years.
The paper also made some significant climate commitments, including a pledge to accelerate the phase-out of coal-powered energy. Renewable energies should be massively expanded, so that wind and solar power cover 80 percent of electricity consumption in Germany by 2030. A general speed limit on the autobahn, which was demanded by the Greens, will not be implemented.
Olaf Scholz to become chancellor on December 8
The deal will now need to receive the approval from members of the three parties. If all goes to plan, Olaf Scholz is set to be sworn in as chancellor on December 8, 73 days after the federal election.
That might seem like a long time to get a government in order, but by Germany’s standards it’s positively speedy. For comparison, after the 2017 election, it took 171 days to form a government - the longest ever. The election before that, it took 86 days. The shortest time ever recorded was in 1998 and 2002, when Gerhard Schröder’s “red-green” coalition was sorted out in just 30 days.