The Ministry of Transport did not get and some other concessions to the FDP and SPD: The jubilation of the Greens over the coalition agreement is cautious. The party has had considerable negotiating successes for its poor election results – and will soon take on a lot of responsibility.
It has been almost four months since the Greens re-launched a previously unsuccessful federal election campaign. An immediate climate protection program presented at the beginning of August was intended to steer the debate away from the mistakes and unhappiness of Chancellor candidate Annalena Baerbock towards the content of the party. That was only partially successful on that day, but party leaders Baerbock and Robert Habeck included many of the concerns of the immediate program in the coalition agreement. In view of the disappointing election result for the Greens, this is a considerable success, even if the party has so far been rather cautious.
With the accelerated phase-out of coal by 2030 above the CO2 price, with the establishment of a climate protection ministry and the “largest climate protection package that has ever existed”, with the designation of two percent of the land area for wind turbines and the acceleration of the planning process for renewable energies as well as one Aligning the company car privilege to electric cars can be found in numerous aspects of the immediate climate protection program in the traffic light plans. Habeck promises that the coalition agreement, on which the Greens base will decide in a ballot from today, will bring Germany onto the 1.5-degree path.
The Greens were unable to enforce the climate veto right, which was hotly debated in August. Instead, the ministries should check all their laws themselves for compatibility with the Paris climate targets. The many traffic light projects for the mobility transition will be implemented by an FDP man, Volker Wissing, and thus a representative of the motorist party that prevented the speed limit on motorways required by the Greens. The fact that after the unloved federal transport ministers of the CSU a liberal takes over the department is not only disappointing for the transport politicians of the Greens.
“Of course the federal government must also sharpen it up”
Nonetheless, the party is largely in agreement with the outcome of the negotiations. The climate politician Lisa Badum sees the 1.5-degree path within reach and praises the ambitious goals in the expansion of renewable energies. “By 2030, 80 percent of our electricity should be generated from renewable sources,” said the member of the Bundestag. “With this we can achieve more than the 65 percent emission reductions set by the last federal government by 2030.”
European politician Franziska Brantner, who is being traded as a possible new party leader, also sees “a lot of good” in the coalition agreement when it comes to climate policy. In addition to the steps to decarbonise the country, Brantner underscores the negotiating success of her party in the protection of species and the conversion to organic agriculture.
Timon Dzienus, one of the two chairmen of the Green Youth, is happy about the coal phase-out in 2030 and the expansion of renewable energies. “But of course the federal government must also sharpen it if it turns out that the measures are not sufficient to achieve the climate targets,” he says. “Traffic has not delivered in recent years and we are very concerned that it will continue to do so,” said Dzienus, criticizing many of the vague formulations in the transport section of the contract. How the youth of the party, who are strongly represented in the new Bundestag, positions themselves in relation to the coalition agreement, will be shown at their regional council next weekend.
The coalition as a whole will record successes for itself
Social policy also harbors disappointments from the Greens ‘point of view: The contract leaves open whether recipients of the citizens’ allowance, which is supposed to replace Hartz IV, will end up receiving more money. It is the same with the basic child benefits, which is intended to bundle all existing support options. “The chapter on social policy is inadequate in many places,” says Dzienus. He announced that he would be working with associations to ensure that the citizens’ money would become a “worthy basic security”.
In contrast, satisfaction prevails in large parts of the party when it comes to socio-political issues. Be it the abolition of the ban on abortion advertising, which also prevents educational offers, the reform of citizenship law, a regular residence status for two to three hundred thousand tolerated persons, an immigration law for skilled workers, a different approach to sexual minorities, a more liberal drug policy: the traffic light will be many heart issues address the Greens beyond the environment and climate. However, many of these questions fall within the departments of the SPD and FDP, which have internal affairs, justice and health for themselves.
The Greens, on the other hand, have two more ministries than their first and last government participation from 1998 to 2005. On the other hand, Habeck’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Protection, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food and the Ministry of the Environment have three departments on climate and nature conservation issues. The great fear that the implementation of the energy transition within the coalition depends primarily on the Greens has become quite realistic.
The coalition as a whole will record successes for itself. If the expansion of renewables does not make progress under Habeck, it will mainly stick to the Greens. Habeck thus has the greatest responsibility in the new cabinet for the success of the Greens, especially since he will be one of their defining faces as Vice-Chancellor. Bringing the interests of business and the goals of the energy transition together is a Herculean task.
A lot is in there, not everything
Baerbock, on the other hand, who wants to help the Foreign Office back to its old size, flies under the radar of public perception in the worst case – like her predecessor Heiko Maas until the disastrous Afghanistan withdrawal. In the best-case scenario, however, it will succeed in making Germany a visible player again on an international and, above all, on a European level – also depending on how much space a Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz will allow for Baerbock next to him. Already because of the different views of the SPD and the Greens on Russia policy, the employment relationship between Scholz and Baerbock will be decisive for the foreign policy orientation of the Federal Republic in the coming years.
While the Greens’ campaign slogan in the summer was “Everything is in”, Baerbock and Habeck’s slogan now has to be “A lot is in” in order to convince the members of the vote in favor of the coalition agreement. Their overwhelming approval is ultimately likely anyway. Despite all disappointments, the traffic light contract is too green to refuse, and the friends anticipating the move to the government bank are too big. The project by Baerbock and Habeck, begun three years ago in January, to lead the Greens into government, is thus nearing completion. Just to celebrate, as all traffic light representatives make clear, there is no time in view of the corona pandemic.