Government: Traffic light coalition wants to clarify controversial issues at top meetings

Government: Traffic light coalition wants to clarify controversial issues at top meetings

Replacing oil and gas heating systems or the budget for the coming year: there are a number of controversial issues on the table in the traffic light coalition. Now the tips come together to find a solution.

The traffic light coalition wants to clarify a number of controversial issues at a summit meeting in the Chancellery on Sunday evening. Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) was optimistic. He was “confident that we can now make a small leap forward,” he said in Potsdam on Saturday. It is expected that the consultations of the SPD, Greens and FDP will last until Monday night.

Green leader Ricarda Lang was also confident. “We were chosen to solve problems. We will,” she told the “Bild am Sonntag”. There’s a lot on the table. “Now it’s time to cut through one knot after the other.”

The points of contention include plans for an accelerated expansion of transport routes and the phasing out of oil and gas heating. A draft law from the Ministry of Economics by Robert Habeck (Greens) provides for stricter rules for the installation of new heating systems. According to an agreement reached by the coalition in spring 2022, from 2024 onwards every newly installed heating system should be operated with 65 percent renewable energy – this could de facto result in a ban on new oil and gas heating systems.

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In recent weeks, the tone in the coalition has become much rougher. Vice-Chancellor Habeck complained about a breach of trust because his house’s draft law on the subject of heating replacement was pushed through to the media at an early stage. FDP politicians, in turn, repeatedly urged discipline when spending money – especially with a view to the federal budget for 2024 that is now pending. FDP Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai said: “All coalition parties must recognize the current financial realities. This includes compliance with the debt brake and a Prioritizing government spending.”

SPD parliamentary group leader Achim Post is also hoping for progress on the budget issue. “In the coalition committee, it is now a matter of cutting knots in some important factual issues. I am confident that this will succeed. And that will also help for the further budget negotiations,” he told the German Press Agency. It is nothing unusual that in difficult times there are also difficult budgetary issues. In such a situation, it is only reasonable to proceed according to the principle of thoroughness before speed.

“But on the other hand, I also expect that we in the coalition will examine in the coming consultations what additional scope can be developed and used. Here I advise pragmatism instead of bans on thinking or polemics,” said Post. This also applies to unused funds from the Economic Stabilization Fund (WSF), which is intended to stabilize the German economy as a result of the corona pandemic. “Where there is room for maneuver in this (case) and other cases, we should also examine them constructively.”

Environmental protection organizations called for more speed in climate protection. “We expect today’s coalition summit to send a signal of departure for climate protection,” says an appeal by Campact, Fridays for Future and Greenpeace. “It is high time to break through the climate blockade of the FDP ministers Wissing and Lindner. Chancellor Scholz must speak his mind here.” The environmental protection organizations called for the abandonment of new motorways and an immediate climate protection program for traffic.

The coalition committee includes the party and faction leaders of the three traffic light parties as well as the chancellor and several ministers – a total of almost 20 politicians. In the coalition agreement, the SPD, Greens and FDP had agreed that the committee would meet monthly “to discuss fundamental and current political issues with one another and coordinate further work planning”. In practice, however, the committee meets much less frequently.

Source: Stern

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