Sat. Nov 27th, 2021

Olaf Scholz has unveiled the coalition agreement between the Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals that will allow him to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor, promising the “greatest industrial modernization of Germany in more than 100 years”.

He said the agreement would pave the way for Germany to become a “pioneer in climate protection”, adding that “we will invest massively to maintain Germany’s status as a world leader”. Green co-leader Annalena Baerbock said the new government would introduce a “paradigm shift” in German politics.

The coalition agreement was the fruit of almost two months of intense negotiations after the Social Democrats’ small victory in national elections on 26 September.

Although the focus on Wednesday in the party leaders’ press conference was on climate change, public investment and more labor rights, the new government’s most urgent priority will be to stem a pandemic that threatens to overwhelm Germany’s hospitals. Authorities reported 66,884 new coronavirus infections in the past 24 hours – a new record.

Under the coalition agreement, the SPD will get six ministries, in addition to the chancellery, while the Greens will be crowned five and the Liberal Free Democrats (FDP), four.

The Greens will take control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and a newly created Ministry of Economy and Climate Protection. Although no official announcement was made, people close to the negotiations said Baerbock would lead the first and Robert Habeck, the Greens’ co-leader, the second.

Center is: Green co-leaders Annalena Baerbock, and Robert Habeck, with Olaf Scholz of the SPD, and Christian Lindner of the FDP © Odd Andersen / AFP / Getty

Baerbock said the parties had agreed to “return to an active European foreign policy”, one based on diplomacy and dialogue and “driven by values ​​and human rights”.

The Ministry of Finance goes to the FDP, which has a reputation for fiscal fraud: it is widely expected in Berlin that the party’s leader, Christian Lindner, will become minister.

He spoke on Wednesday afternoon, saying the coalition agreement would ensure Germany remains a “proponent of sound”. [public] finances – this is important in light of the concerns that many people currently have about inflation ”.

September’s election was a watershed in German politics. With Merkel leaving the stage after four terms as chancellor, her Christian Democrats fell to their worst result and were forced into opposition for the first time in 16 years and only the third time since World War II.

The CDU’s poor performance paved the way for Scholz to form a “traffic light” coalition with the Greens and Liberals – named after the three parties’ traditional colors. It will be the first such alliance at national level in Germany’s history and is expected to put the fight against climate change at the top of its agenda.

The parties agreed to postpone Germany’s exit from coal “ideally” to 2030 (it is currently scheduled to take place in 2038). They also said they would ensure that by 2030, renewable energy accounts for 80 percent of German electricity production, up from 45 percent in the past year. In addition, about 2 percent of German territory will be reserved for wind turbines.

The parties also agreed to legalize marijuana for adults, tighten rent controls, increase the minimum wage from € 9.60 per hour to € 12, and allow for the introduction of armed drones to better protect Bundeswehr soldiers.

The parties agreed to take a cautious approach to fiscal policy and insisted Germany returns to “debt brake”, a restriction on new loans contained in the country’s constitution, suspended during the 2023 pandemic.

Asked how they would finance their planned investments while sticking to the debt brake, Habeck said “we know exactly how we will pay for it” without providing further details.

The SPD and FDP will hold party conferences to approve the coalition agreement, while the Greens will put it to the vote of all the eco-party’s 125,000 members. If it gets the green light, the new government will be sworn in by the Bundestag early next month.

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