Yes to coalition negotiations: Greens inspire each other for the traffic light

The exploratory paper on the traffic light government met with approval at the small party congress of the Greens. The party is happy about many of the agreements with the FDP and SPD. But the issues of finance and the climate are causing skepticism, and the issue of ministerial posts even a little bit of anger.

The Bundestag elections have only been three weeks, but the Greens’ clear view of the speedy co-government seems to help over any disappointment in the face of the election results. The decision of the small party congress to start coalition negotiations on Sunday in Berlin’s Westhafen only just missed unanimity. Standing applause for this vote and plenty of praise for the ten-person exploration team led by chairmen Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck are impressive testimony to the Greens’ enthusiasm for governing. The exploratory paper drawn up with the SPD and FDP already makes it clear that the next four years of government will demand a lot of goodwill, unity and a willingness to compromise from the party. But the 30 speakers at this third small party congress of the Greens within five weeks only express fears and doubts in the form of warnings and reminders – if at all.

It should have made their decision easier for the delegates that party leader Habeck formulated the anticipation mixed with skepticism when submitting the application for approval: Like many other speakers who followed him, he praised the climate policy, socio-political and social successes of the Greens in the negotiations, but also counts what will not come with the traffic lights, such as the speed limit and the increase in the top tax rate, which the FDP failed. The fact that old-age provision should be generated more on the capital markets in the future does not come from the Greens’ ideas.

“We expect something from this exploratory paper, but so do the others,” says Habeck. But it would be a joke, argues the chairman, if the Greens, who wanted to impose something on society as a whole, weren’t ready for it too. Habeck thus interprets everything that the Green explorers have not achieved in order to “prove that we are a mature party that is able to take on government responsibility”. “We want responsibility,” says Habeck to applause. “We want to do something”, Baerbock called out to the jubilant delegates towards the end of the event. No, the party will not be deterred by all the foreseeable difficulties in the coming weeks.

Where should the money come from?

The potential for conflict is still immense, starting with questions about the financing of the numerous projects and the specification of climate protection to the distribution of offices in the coalition. The exploratory representatives on all sides have since Friday rejected any doubts that tax increases prevented by the Liberals and a loosening of the debt brake stand in the way of the implementation of the agreed investments in climate and infrastructure.

At the small party congress, it is budget politician Anja Hajduk who resolutely contradicts the self-portrayal of the traffic light representatives. The FDP’s financial guard rails are a “difficult task for the coalition negotiations,” says the member of the Bundestag. “I want us to hold the SPD and the FDP responsible so that we can get the 500 billion euros invested for a decade of investment together.” The traffic light-experienced, Rhineland-Palatinate member of the state parliament Daniel Köbler says with a view to the still thin financing agreements: “I also don’t have the imagination how one can cope with all the future tasks with it.”

Delegates call for higher standard rates

All the investments in the transformation of industry and in carbon-free energy supply, in the expansion of railways and local public transport, as well as in the building renovations that the traffic light wants to lift, are on thin ice if economic growth is to be a significant source of additional income. No matter how well a federal government is working, this cannot be guaranteed, especially in view of the high national debt and the major economic damage caused by the pandemic.

To be on the safe side, the delegates of the party council warned that the promised introduction of a basic child benefit as well as a citizen’s allowance instead of Hartz IV should not be limited to renaming and bundling of previous standard rates: These would also have to be increased noticeably. Timon Dzienus, spokesman for the Green Youth, announced that his organization, together with the youth organizations of the SPD and trade unions, would put pressure on this. “Put an end to the sanctions and get on with the higher standard rates,” he shouts. The young politicians from the SPD and the Greens, who are represented in large numbers in the Bundestag, will be an exciting factor in the traffic light government.

The “second ember core” warms green hearts

This also applies to climate issues. As great as the Greens are delighted with the expansion of wind and solar energy recorded in the exploratory paper, with the early phase-out of coal-fired power generation and the mandatory end for the approval of combustion engines: The skepticism that the traffic lights represent the climate government promised in the election campaign can also be felt. Baerbock says her party will “have to negotiate very, very hard”.

Anticipation for government arouses among explorers and delegates what Habeck called the “second glowing core” of the exploratory paper on Friday: social policy. All speakers praised the traffic light plans for equality, dealing with sexual minorities, reforming citizenship and lowering the voting age to 16 years. It is in this area in which the traffic light parties have found real content overlaps beyond manners and confidentiality. In the coming weeks it will be exciting to see how the traffic light specifically wants to “end dying in the Mediterranean” and create “legal migration routes”, which is so clearly important to the Greens. If only because of the European political awakening towards a more closely coordinated, more uniform EU, which the traffic light also wants to create, the issues of asylum and flight hold a great deal of explosive power.

Small warning shot towards the FDP

Even under the seal of confidentiality, it is said from the party that departmental layouts and the allocation of posts had not yet been discussed at the exploratory meetings. Meanwhile, statements from the FDP, where, among others, the co-chairman Wolfgang Kubicki and the parliamentary managing director Marco Buschmann have spoken out in favor of Christian Lindner as federal finance minister, are causing initial unrest.

Green exploratory member Oliver Krischer therefore warns at the party congress that the previous “cooperative style is suddenly jeopardized by loud interviews on the allocation of posts”, and recalls the balance of power between the three parties: “We orientate ourselves during these negotiations on the program and, later, on positions us not by the speed of press releases, but by the election results and the votes of the voters. ” The consistently emphasized eye level of the three parties shows the best-before date of the distribution of items.

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