The last coalition committee of the traffic light lasted about 20 hours – so far without result. Today the SPD, Greens and FDP continue their deliberations. The opposition is questioning the ability of the traffic light to govern because of the dispute.
The top politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP are meeting again this morning to continue their interrupted crisis meeting in the coalition committee. They seek compromises on various issues. There is still a need for clarification, especially in the area of climate and transport policy.
The talks began on Sunday evening and continued into early Monday. They had to be interrupted after around 20 hours – Chancellor Olaf Scholz and several ministers were invited to the German-Dutch government consultations in Rotterdam.
Concrete results have not yet been presented after the marathon session. Cross-party, however, there was talk of “trustworthy and constructive” talks, Chancellor Scholz even spoke of “very, very good progress”. The opposition, on the other hand, sees the interruption as a disgrace and a sign of inadequacy.
“Nice meantime” in Rotterdam
Actually, at the beginning of its accession to government, the traffic light had made it its mission not to hold any long-term meetings at night. Scholz justified the long meeting with the complexity of the tasks to be solved. It is about the modernization of Germany. “We want to make very clear, concrete decisions that will enable us to reach the necessary pace,” he said on the fringes of the consultations in Rotterdam.
“The government’s common conviction is that the legal rules that we have gradually screwed together over the last few decades do not match the speed that we need today,” said the SPD politician, referring to the expansion of renewable energies, the power grid and the transport infrastructure. He called the talks in Rotterdam “a nice break that we’re having here with our friends in the Netherlands.”
Head shaking in opposition
As relaxed as the Chancellor is, the judgment of the CDU, CSU, AfD and Left Party is devastating. CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja questioned the ability of the traffic light to govern in the “Tagesspiegel”. CSU regional group chief Alexander Dobrindt told the Bayern media group: “The traffic light for disputes is now also becoming the traffic light for strikes, because it borders on a refusal to work if there is not a single result after so many hours.” CDU leader Friedrich Merz said the coalition was “standing knockout”
Left leader Janine Wissler described the traffic light alliance as a “blockade coalition”. Wissler called on the chancellor to be more assertive. In particular, Finance Minister Christian Lindner and Transport Minister Volker Wissing on the part of the FDP are brakes on climate protection, social justice and investments in the future.
SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert tried to appease. It is better to spend two days struggling hard to find solutions to important issues than having to govern for two years with no solutions in these areas. “I think the two days are reasonable with a lot of blinking,” says Kühnert.
controversy on many issues
The list of deadlocked points of contention for traffic lights is long. Climate protection in transport was indicated as the biggest conflict issue – because the federal government must create a trend reversal here. In this sector, greenhouse gas emissions have recently increased instead of decreasing. The Greens in particular are demanding more effort from Transport Minister Wissing, while the FDP strictly rejects proposals such as a general speed limit on German autobahns.
There is also dissatisfaction with the planned ban on oil and gas heating. The basic idea had actually long been agreed in the coalition: from 2024, if possible, only new heating systems should be installed that are operated with at least 65 percent renewable energies.
In fact, this means the end of conventional oil and gas heating systems. Habeck poured that into a controversial bill. SPD and FDP both emphasize that homeowners and tenants should not be overwhelmed. In search of a compromise, the traffic light had already progressed before the summit meeting – without details leaking out so far.
The scope and financing of the basic child security planned from 2025 is also up for debate: the Green Minister for Family Affairs, Lisa Paus, is calling for an increase. Finance Minister Lindner counters this because the coalition has just raised child benefits.
The dispute over money has become a constant companion of the coalition. Even before the coalition committee, FDP politicians repeatedly called for financial discipline – especially with a view to the outstanding federal budget for 2024. Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai said: “All coalition parties must recognize the current financial realities.” However, the three parties did not have a common basic understanding on this issue.