After sixteen years of power by Angela Merkel, a new political era begins in Germany. The Social Democrats, the Greens and the Liberals unveiled, Wednesday afternoon, November 24, their government agreement to form the coalition that will come to power, almost two months after the legislative elections, marked by a historic debacle for the conservative camp of the chancellor.
The SPD is preparing to take power in an unprecedented alliance with environmentalists and the liberal FDP party. The three formations distributed the ministerial portfolios: the Greens get foreign affairs and the climate, while the very important and prestigious morocco finance goes to the liberals. The document does not give a name, but FDP chairman Christian Lindner, a champion of budget austerity, is considered a favorite to take on the post of chief financial officer.
The doors of the Chancellery are now wide open for the Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, 63, who is expected to be made chancellor in early December by the Bundestag. Germany will then turn the page on the Merkel years, which has only been managing current affairs for a month.
Legalization of cannabis
Negotiated for several weeks, the coalition contract, dubbed “Daring more progress – alliance for freedom, justice and sustainability”, plans to return “In 2023” the budgetary austerity rules, including the constitutional debt brake. After a year 2022 still marked by the pandemic, “From 2023 we will limit debt to what the constitutional brake allows”, according to the contract, which however provides for budgetary resources ” unprecedented “ to meet climate targets.
Among these: the anticipated exit of coal in 2030 ” ideally “, compared to 2038 previously. “This requires the massive development of renewable energies”, notes the agreement, and implies “The construction of modern gas-fired power stations in order to cover the growing needs for electricity and energy over the coming years at competitive prices”.
The coalition also wants to legalize cannabis, the sale of which in “Approved stores” will be reserved “To adults”. “This will allow quality control, prevent the transmission of contaminated substances and guarantee the protection of young people”, states the government contract, stating that “The social impact of the law” would be evaluated after four years.
The agreement was finalized after vigorous negotiations. Time was running out, as the Covid-19 pandemic has never been so virulent – daily numbers of new infections unmatched, fear of hospital saturation. Sign of growing nervousness in the face of the outbreak of contaminations, Angela Merkel had received Tuesday evening at the chancellery the leaders of the parties of the future coalition called “traffic light”. On Wednesday, the outgoing Minister of the Economy announced that the country will extend its aid to businesses until April 2022.
Don’t repeat the 2017 scenario
The coalition contract was finalized in record time: after exploratory discussions, Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals got to the heart of the matter on October 21 with the constitution of more than twenty working groups. On the evening of the elections, everyone had shown their willingness to go quickly so as not to repeat the scenario of 2017, when Angela Merkel took more than five months to form her government, paralyzing Europe.
The rapid conclusion of a government agreement should reassure other European countries, worried after the legislative elections to see Germany, a heavyweight of the European Union, without a real captain on board, when the Twenty-Seven face a new major crisis at their doorstep with the influx orchestrated by Belarus of thousands of Syrians and Iraqis to the border with Poland.
Olaf Scholz, familiar with the intricacies of negotiation, has already taken his first steps on the international scene by accompanying Angela Merkel to the G20 summit last month in Rome and by participating informally in the main bilateral talks, in particular with US President Joe Biden . For the first time in sixteen years, the SPD, which came first in the legislative elections with 25.7% of the vote, will once again lead the government of the main European economy.
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In Germany, the SPD, the Greens and the Liberals reached a coalition agreement