Federal government: The results of the coalition committee of the traffic light – policy
After almost 30 hours of negotiations, the traffic light coalition has agreed on compromises on central conflict issues, such as climate protection. The general ban on the installation of new gas heating systems planned by Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) will be softened, as will the SPD, Greens and FDP announced on Tuesday evening. In the future, they want to pursue a “technology-open approach” and there should be “sufficient transitional periods,” according to the decision paper. There should be state subsidies for new heating systems. “No one will be left in the lurch,” says the resolution.
At the same time, the coalition wants to increase truck tolls on motorways from next year and put 80 percent of the additional income into the expansion of the rail network. A good 140 motorway expansion and new construction projects are to be considered to be of outstanding public interest in the future, and their planning is also to be accelerated in agreement with the federal states. Newly built trunk roads should always be flanked with solar systems.
In the controversial question of whether there are clear CO₂ savings targets for individual sectors in the Climate Protection Act, the FDP prevailed. FDP boss and finance minister Christian Lindner said that the guidelines should apply for several years in the future, and that the individual sectors could also “help” each other. So if a lot of carbon dioxide continues to be emitted in traffic, this could be offset by fewer emissions in industry, for example.
“Not an easy negotiation process”
The chairmen of all three parties spoke of very difficult negotiations. In recent years, a lot has been left undone, said Greens leader Ricarda Lang, and efforts have been made to modernize the country. With three parties, this is “not a simple negotiation process”. Lars Klingbeil (SPD) said that they were “very satisfied” with the result. Lindner said of the climate in the coalition: “One keeps silent and one discusses one another.”
A few hours earlier, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) had already praised the result: “A complete work will be created that – I want to say explicitly – will have been worth all the effort,” he said at a press conference in the afternoon. It is about the modernization of our country “in the face of unbelievable challenges”, which has to be discussed laboriously and “on behalf of society as a whole”.
Shortly before the end of the coalition committee, opposition leader Friedrich Merz said: “We obviously have a government crisis in Germany.” The federal government have “permanently argued publicly” in the past few weeks, criticized Merz. Scholz “stood at times like an uninvolved person on the sidelines and acted as if he had nothing to do with the whole thing”. The CDU leader predicted that these quarrels would continue, but he did not see a “sufficiently secure basis for the continued existence of this coalition”.
Recently, climate protection seemed to be increasingly developing into a possible breaking point of the coalition – above all the question of how strict state requirements should be for this. The planned climate protection law has been stuck for months. The green resisted the suggestion to weaken the CO₂ reduction targets of individual sectors. The coalition also wrestled with the question of whether new motorways would be built at all and how much money would be invested in the rail network.
With the controversial ban on installing new oil and gas heating systems, the SPD warned that citizens would be overwhelmed. Party leader Klingbeil assured that the insecurity in the population had been noticed and that social justice would be maintained. The FDP, on the other hand, insisted on working less with bans in climate policy and emphasized openness to technology. In addition, the FDP and SPD fear job losses, especially in industry, if electricity becomes too expensive and climate-friendly conversion becomes a locational disadvantage.
This increasingly frustrated the Greens, and their anger was also directed at Scholz. “The traffic light could also govern better than it does,” said Baden-Württemberg Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens). He criticized the Chancellor’s “weak leadership”.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) said on Tuesday at the start of an international conference on the energy transition that it was the day before climate protection came to a “passionate debate”. She spoke of controversial discussions. The leaders of the SPD, Greens and FDP interrupted their negotiations on Monday afternoonafter sitting together for more than 19 hours. They met again in the Chancellery on Tuesday morning, and the negotiations ended late in the evening.