What are the next German government's key policies?
After nearly eight weeks of wrangling, the three parties set to form Germany’s next government have laid out a roadmap for the post-Merkel years. Here’s an overview of the policies they’ve agreed upon.
“Traffic light coalition is here”
At a press conference in Berlin on Wednesday, the Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and Free Democrats (FDP) announced that they had finalised a deal to form a governing coalition together - dubbed “traffic light” by the German media after their respective colours.
“The traffic light [coalition] is here,” said incoming Chancellor Olaf Scholz as he unveiled the plans. He said that negotiations had been carried out in a “friendly but tense atmosphere, an atmosphere full of trust,” and that effort had been made to form a “coalition of equals” that would draw on each party’s strengths.
Under the motto, “Dare to make progress”, the 177-page document sets out their vision for the post-Merkel era. Green party co-leader Robert Habeck described the new government’s policies as a commitment to reconciling “welfare with climate protection.” FDP leader Christian Lindner added, “It is our remit to modernise this country together.”
Some of the cornerstone policies included in the deal are:
Income & Social security
- Increase the minimum wage to 12 euros per hour in 2022
- Introduce an income-linked “Child Basic Insurance” to guarantee parents enough money to cover their child’s basic needs
- Get rid of the Hartz IV unemployment benefit and replace it with a “Citizens’ Fund”
- Pledge not to cut pensions or increase the retirement age
Immigration, citizenship & Voting rights
- Reduce the minimum residency requirement for German citizenship to five years
- Allow dual citizenship
- Introduce a points-based immigration system to attract skilled workers
- Lower the voting age to 16
- Build 400.000 new apartments each year to fight the crisis on the housing market
- Introduce a rent break, preventing landlords from raising rents by more than 11 percent over three years
- One-off heating cost allowance for low-income families
- Return to the debt limit (cap on annual borrowing) from 2023
- Invest 3,5 percent of GDP in research and development for transitioning to a carbon-neutral economy
- Invest 1 billion euros in bonuses for workers in the healthcare system
- Bring forward the phase-out of coal to 2030
- Source 80 percent of electricity in Germany from renewable sources by 2030
- Have 15 million electric cars driving on the roads by 2030
- Increase train freight transport by 25 percent by 2030
The parties also pledged to legalise the regulated sale of cannabis.
Ministries divided between SPD, Greens and FDP
The parties have agreed as to who will be taking charge of which ministries during the traffic light coalition’s term in government. The SPD - which emerged as the largest party in the Bundestag after the federal election in September - is set to lead six ministries, the Greens will take care of five, and the FDP four.
Olaf Scholz is stepping into Angela Merkel’s shoes as the new chancellor of Germany. The Greens will head up a newly-created Ministry for the Economy and Climate, the Foreign Ministry and the Ministries for Environment, Agriculture, and Family.
The FDP will be in charge of finance, transport, education and justice, while the SPD will control the Ministries of Interior and Defence, a newly-created Ministry of Construction, and the ministries of Health, Labour and Social Affairs, and Economic Cooperation.
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