The traffic light partners cross paths on several key issues. After sharp criticism from Vice Chancellor Habeck, the question is whether the coalition can still work together in a spirit of trust.
After discussions about cooperation in the traffic light coalition, Transport Minister Volker Wissing emphasized the need to struggle for solutions. Of course, it must be possible for different political positions to be articulated within a government, said the FDP politician in the ZDF “heute-journal” with a view to the dispute over the plans to replace the heating system. “We need to struggle for the best solution and not to subordinate better ideas.”
Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) had recently expressed dissatisfaction with the current state of the coalition. For weeks there have been sometimes sharp discussions between the SPD, Greens and FDP about the highway expansion, climate protection in the transport sector, heating replacement or the upcoming budget for 2024. A coalition committee is scheduled for Sunday.
Wissing: “Times are serious”
Among other things, Habeck had criticized in the ARD “Tagesthemen” that the draft had been leaked to the press at an early stage. “Here, the draft law to the “Bild” newspaper – and I must therefore assume – was deliberately leaked in order to damage trust in the government.” In this respect, talks between the coalition partners were “probably destroyed on purpose, because of the cheap tactical advantage”.
When asked what one should think of a government described in this way, Wissing replied: “Well, I don’t think much of such things, and I don’t get involved either. Times are serious, we have to govern seriously.” There is an enormous need to catch up in Germany.
In the heating dispute, Wissing emphasized that it was crucial to get people involved in climate protection. “A government must take the concerns of the population very seriously,” he said. “Building, housing and heating must also remain affordable, and we must discuss these things in government.” If you have then agreed on a draft law, “then we also stand behind it”.
Specifically, it is about a draft law that provides for stricter rules for the installation of new heating systems from 2024. From 2024, if possible, every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy. This could amount to a de facto ban on new oil and gas heating systems. Above all, the FDP criticizes the draft sharply, also because details for the transition and operating periods have not yet been determined.
SPD and FDP reject Habeck’s criticism
At the start of the Greens parliamentary group retreat on Tuesday, Habeck also said that it could not be “that in a progress coalition only one coalition partner is responsible for progress and the others for preventing progress”.
The General Secretaries of the SPD and FDP rejected the Vice Chancellor’s criticism. “Mr Habeck’s perception that the Greens are responsible for progress in the traffic light coalition and that the other parties would prevent it does not correspond to reality,” said FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai to the “Spiegel”. SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert confirmed that Habeck was currently under pressure. “But I think you shouldn’t deal with the pressure in such a way that you just grab in all directions because of it,” he told the ARD capital studio.
The deputy SPD parliamentary group leader Detlef Müller called on the traffic light parties to compromise. “When it comes to climate protection in transport and the heat transition, we are faced with enormously challenging tasks. In order to master them successfully, we have to pull together as a coalition,” he told the editorial network Germany. He assured: “We are all trying to find a balanced compromise, certainly also in the coalition committee on Sunday.”
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