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Traffic light parties aim to be a counselor in St. Nicholas Week

Traffic light parties aim to be a counselor in St. Nicholas Week

The schedule is ambitious: In the week of December 6-10, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP want to form a joint federal government — with Chancellor Olaf Schulz at the helm. At the start of coalition negotiations on Thursday, they named the heads of 22 working groups that should link the details of the first traffic light alliance at the federal level.

“We have set ourselves this ambitious timetable because we believe that Germany should have a stable government as soon as possible this year,” said Volker Wessing, general secretary of the FDP. He made the appointments in a joint statement with SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil and Federal Greens Director Michael Kellner. “Before Christmas it became Saint Nicholas Week,” Kellner said. So far, the stated goal has been to form a government before Christmas.

By the end of next November, a deal will be presented, the new Federal Chancellor will be elected and the new government will be formed in the week of December 6, the three politicians have made clear. Next, Schulz will succeed former Vice-Chancellor and Finance Minister Angela Merkel (CDU), who was elected chancellor in 2005. The SPD became the strongest force in the federal elections at the end of September. Klingbeil said the work of the individual working groups will begin next Wednesday. These positions should work out by November 10 – that is, within two weeks – which should then go to the main negotiating groups.

How often they meet during this time is up to them, according to Greens Federal Director, Kellner. But it still applies: “No weekends, no night meetings.” The agreements in the exploratory paper must not be shaken.

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Looking at the table, Kellner spoke of a complex task. “It will definitely be knotted one day. Anything else would surprise me.” But he is sure that the coalition negotiations will succeed. The table sets a goal, but this is not static. For the Greens, there is now a chance to join a federal government for the first time in 16 years and forge a “fresh start”.

Wesing talked about a tight schedule, but also noted the bad experiences with the Jamaica negotiations in 2017. “We already have different experiences elsewhere: If you talk about things for too long, the problems won’t decrease, the obstacles won’t get smaller,” he said. “Explorations have given us courage. We were able to remove the obstacles that have now led us with optimism and confidence to this stage of the coalition negotiations.” Should an outcome occur, the FDP would “be able to hold a special caucus even on short notice.”

The first meeting of the chief negotiators at the Berlin Exhibition Center on Thursday should serve the purpose of communication. High-level representatives from each party should meet with the leaders of the working groups negotiating the details of the alliance agreement.

The sticking points in the search for a Traffic Light Alliance program are differences in tax and fiscal policy and the right course for climate protection.

After the 2017 general election, negotiations to form a new government took months. After the failure of talks between the Union, the Green Party and the Free Democratic Party, a coalition of the Union and the Social Democratic Party was formed.

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