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Germany – Traffic light in search of the lock step

It can no longer be denied the fact that things are not going well in the coalition of the Social Democrats, the FDP and the Greens, at least since last week. At that time, Robert Habeck was a member of the ARD’s “Tagesthemen” program, and the German Vice-Chancellor not only talked about the many “knots” that had to be untied at traffic lights, but also complained bitterly that the coalition partners had drafted a law that was still not Completed and perforated in Bild newspaper. The Green politician said that for the “cheap tactical advantage” the chances of voting with other government parties were ruined.

At the time, it was precisely about the possible ban on new oil and gas heating systems from 2024, which had been the subject of discussions in Germany for weeks. But the conflict over the HAPEC heat exchange programme, which could hardly be managed without multibillion-dollar investments, was just the tip of the iceberg. There was also strife within the coalition over the FDP’s enforced blockade of the already-in-placed ban on combustion engine registrations from 2035, which had even overshadowed the entire EU summit the week before, and over the question of infrastructure projects. infrastructure that must be accelerated in the future. The FDP relies on expanding highways and other high-priority roads, while the Greens demand a clear focus on rail.

Marathon without result

What was intended not in the least to sharpen their profile may have hurt Traffic Light Partners in favor of the electorate. The SPD and the Greens have been losing ground at the polls since the beginning of February, while the FDP, which has been in the doldrums for several months, did not even make it to the lower house in the Berlin local elections a few weeks ago. since. The CDU and CSU as well as the AfD had to do little more than watch from the sidelines as the traffic lights faded from day to day.

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Thus, the expectations of the Coalition Committee that began on Sunday evening in the Berlin Chancellery were correspondingly high. After the mutual criticisms of the past few days, we should not only talk about dealing with each other; Traffic light leaders also wanted to clear up the biggest sticking points on the table in personal discussions. After FDP leader and Finance Minister Christian Lindner delayed presentation of key figures for the 2024 budget at the start of March because the three parties’ ideas were so far apart, the focus must finally be on tangible progress by a government able to act rather than on rifts and discord.

Whether this will work remains questionable, even after the coalition committee. Negotiations in the chancellery were adjourned on Monday afternoon after a marathon meeting that lasted nearly 20 hours, with no more or less result. Chancellor Olaf Scholz and the other ministers left for the German-Dutch government consultations in Rotterdam, leaving behind the party secretaries and press spokesman, who spoke in brief remarks of “confidence and constructive talks”.

In terms of content, not much has been achieved after the negotiations. According to partisan circles, there has been some important progress, but there are still many central points that are likely to be deflected.

“Knockout permanent government”

Before the talks continue on Tuesday, the playing field is once again up to the opposition. CDU leader Friedrich Merz said after the conclusion of the coalition committee to the German Liberation Network that the federal government “stands ko”. “This government was elected to rule the country and not interfere with each other. Instead of endless disputes, decisions need to be taken now.” (rupee)

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