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Agreement in the coalition committee: the basic problem of the traffic light remains


After their marathon session, the traffic light finally agreed on a package of measures – and then tried to create a picture of unity. But the basic problem of the coalition was also reflected in these decisions.

By Kirsten Girschick, ARD Capital Studio

Olaf Scholz sets the tone. It’s just after five when the Chancellor is speaking to Kenya’s President William Ruto at the press conference. Scholz promises the questioning journalists a good result, one that will move the country forward. He leaves open a specific question about the climate in the talks. Whether he was able to counter the criticism that he was currently blocking climate protection – nothing concrete came up either.

In addition, the Scholz grin: the concentrated capital city press apparently found out little about the “pot hit” and wrote a lot of wrong things. Then Scholz left – what has now been decided remains open.

Traffic light tips present results after mammoth session

Iris Sayram, ARD Berlin, daily topics 10:15 p.m., March 28, 2023

Party leaders want to dispel crisis narratives

The coalition could not avoid an agonizing night session. But the old traffic light goal, that nothing should get out, has succeeded. And the ever-stronger impression of a veritable coalition crisis – the party leaders, who appeared later in the evening, clearly wanted to dispel that offensively.

Lars Klingbeil, Ricarda Lang and Christian Lindner performed with a whisper of harmony. All three picked up formulations that Scholz had already used in the afternoon. The Green party leader said that conflicts had been resolved in the coalition committee on behalf of society. Lindner picked up on Scholz’s satisfaction at keeping close to journalists. Everyone emphasizes the good resolutions.

What is striking, however, is that FDP leader Lindner lists some agreements that are at least not found verbatim in the decision paper. For example, that gas heaters that can be operated with green (climate-neutrally produced) or blue hydrogen (from natural gas) are still permitted.

Tina Hassel, ARD Berlin, on the results of the traffic light negotiations

Tagesschau 8:00 p.m., 28.3.2023

Is that enough to restart?

So is this the end of the squabbles, the fresh start the coalition needs after the nerve-wracking past few months? Or just the start of new discussions?

In any case, one cow is clear of the ice: the acceleration of planning, about which the Greens and FDP had bitterly argued. One thing is clear: the Greens have given in to the accelerated expansion of the Autobahn – and have pushed through solar panels and wind turbines on the hard shoulder (or right next to it). And: The expansion should take place in consultation with the federal states. That would mean, for example, that an A100 expansion, which the Berlin Senate rejects, would not take place. In return, the truck toll will be expanded and increased, and around 45 billion euros are to flow into the railways over the next four years.

Another argument about climate-friendly heating is inevitable

Another cow is still on it: The law on the use of climate-friendly heating systems will be relaxed. “The law is designed in a pragmatic way, undue hardship, also for social compensation, is avoided.” But it doesn’t get any more specific. And the phrase “care is taken to ensure that an approach that is open to technology” leaves room for interpretation, as Lindner’s comment on gas heating shows – that means there is further potential for dispute.

On the part of nature conservation – and thus the green basis – criticism could be sparked that instead of compensation areas for interventions in nature, a compensation payment is also possible – the Green Environment Minister defends the change.

The opinion of Matthias Deiß, ARD Berlin, on the results of the coalition committee

daily topics 10:15 p.m., 28.3.2023

Less pressure on the climate-damaging transport sector

The big sticking point in the climate protection law – the sector targets – are to be abandoned. For example, lower CO2 emissions from industry could help out the notoriously bad transport sector. But the pressure on the transport and construction sectors is becoming more difficult, and commitment is being withdrawn.

After all, an agreement may sound small, but it could have an effect: in the future, when buying a new vehicle, drivers should be able to find out how the costs for fuel and operation are developing. The energy consumption label should then show the burden over the life cycle of the vehicle through CO2 pricing and motor vehicle tax more clearly.

Scholz speaks of a “large workpiece”

The Federal Chancellor sees the agreement as a “big project”. It should simultaneously secure climate protection, economic strength and social peace in Germany. However, this does not depend on this agreement, but on its further implementation. And in many places – see heating – a basic problem with the traffic light remains: certain agreements are formulated so softly that in the end everyone understands something different by them.

Tagesschau live: coalition committee – traffic light parties express themselves

3/28/2023 9:46 p.m