Thursday, December 2

Germany: keys to the negotiation for the semaphore coalition led by the SPD

After almost a month of exploratory talks, formal coalition negotiations between Social Democrats, Liberals and Greens begin today to form a new government for the Federal Republic. It is the so-called “semaphore coalition”.

The first day is, apparently, short the talks, which were held at the Berlin fairgrounds, lasted only about two hours. Starting next week, negotiators from each side will meet in 22 working groups.

In the end, there should be a coalition agreement that will be several hundred pages long. And if the parties agree, the new government with a new chancellor, the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, can take over. The goal is to have a government before Christmas this year.

But what are the main issues at stake in the conversations? What are the conflicts that exist between the three parties that have never governed together at the federal level?

We review some of the commitments already found and those that remain to be found.

“Investments in the future”

Climate protection, digitization, education and research are the three topics for which the parties want to allocate large sums of money and promote investments -private and public-, this is what emerges from the exploratory document of the parties.

Not surprisingly, the source of these funds has yet to be named. However, the coalition does not want to raise taxes or introduce new levies, nor does it want to relax the debt brake: the scope for spending is thus probably limited, and the forms of financing will be an important detail of the negotiations of the coalition.

Climate protection

The German climate activist of “Fridays for the Future” Luisa Neubauer accuses the political leaders of “‘going on like this” in the “ecoliberalism” and makes new demands on the new government to reach the goal of 1.5 degrees.

In exploratory talks it was agreed to further develop the climate protection law already launched by the Merkel government at the end of August and to adopt an immediate action program, and the exploratory results document section on climate also occupies the largest part.

However, according to experts, it will take at least two years from decisions on legislative processes in the Bundestag and Bundesrat to their realization (for example, planting numerous wind towers or expanding railway networks). Two years in which more and more CO2 will be released into the atmosphere.

A safe and flexible world of work: basic income and a rise in the minimum wage

A central electoral promise of the SPD will likely come true: the increase of the legal minimum wage from 9.50 euros in 2021 to 12 euros. In addition, the basic income support “Hartz VI” will be renamed “Bürgergeld” (citizens’ income) and the additional income limit of the beneficiaries will be increased so that full-time work is also interesting along with the income support. basic.

During the electoral campaign, the Greens campaigned with the idea of ​​taxing income only from 10,344 euros, while the FDP wants the maximum tax rate of 42% to apply only from an income of 90,000 euros; So far, the highest income tax rate has been 57,919 euros (in 2021).

The retirement age will not be increased nor will pensions be reduced.

The arrival of skilled workers from abroad in Germany will be facilitated.

It is also necessary to simplify and accelerate the naturalization process and the change of status from refugee to working immigrant.

Foreign and security policy

As in the electoral campaign, foreign policy and security issues were relatively relegated in exploratory talks. The document is quite vague: “We will base our foreign, security and development policy on values ​​and a more European approach,” it says on page 11 of 12. In the document there is a clear commitment to Europe, the United Nations and the NATO, and the withdrawal from Afghanistan will be discussed in a commission. However, the specific foreign policy intentions are not defined.

“We must find a common European strategy for the issue of migration, among other things to end the deaths in the Mediterranean. We must accelerate asylum applications, family reunification and also repatriations” is announced. However, the document is not specific in this regard either.

Distribution of positions

Although the leaders of the three parties, SPD, Greens and FDP, have repeated that decisions on the distribution of ministerial posts would be made at the end of the negotiations, the politicians of the Greens and the FDP have already put Robert Habeck and Christian Lindner, respectively, for the post of Minister of the Economy. Only one thing seems clear: the new chancellor of Germany will be Olaf Scholz, and he will be elected in the week of Saint Nicholas.

During the election campaign, both the Greens and the SPD campaigned for a fair distribution of seats.

What does the new generation say?

The smaller organizations of the three parties are likely to exert additional pressure: Young Socialists insist on expanding commuter transport, lowering the price of tickets and guaranteeing paid apprenticeships. The Green Youth want to increase pressure on climate protection and the Young Liberals want to facilitate the accumulation of assets, legalize euthanasia, abolish the abortion section in the penal code and fully legalize cannabis.

Lowering the voting age for federal and European elections to 16 is also at the heart of the young generation.

In social networks, the hashtag # Legalización2022 and # Cannabislegalización, among others, were used for the legalization of cannabis.

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