No night meetings, 22 working groups – this is how the traffic light coalition partners negotiate

BerlinThe negotiations on the traffic light coalition have begun and on Thursday afternoon the three general secretaries of the SPD, FDP and the Greens presented an ambitious schedule: the first coalition framework should be in place by November 10, and on December 6, on Nikolaus, Olaf Scholz should be the new one Chancellor to be elected.

“The talks should move forward quickly,” said SPD General Secretary Lars Klingbeil on Thursday before he said goodbye to the negotiations at the exhibition center in Berlin. FDP general secretary Volker Wissing emphasized: “The goal is ambitious, but we have the confidence to do it.” The Greens federal manager Michael Kellner also exuded confidence: “We have prepared well.” It is a complex entanglement, some things will be certain also knot again, but he sees solutions. There are some major construction sites – such as financing climate protection, pensions or the minimum wage.

So now it’s time to get down to business. The main negotiators met on Thursday and the 22 working groups are due to meet from next Wednesday. Daily negotiations are planned from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., there should not be night meetings and the parties also want to take time off on the weekends.

The working groups should put their demands on paper by the beginning of November. The previous proposals for the preliminary soundings were not set in stone, said Klingbeil. In some places it still has to be readjusted. The finished papers of the working groups then go to the main negotiating groups.

The team of negotiators is made up of prominent figures

For the SPD, Vice-President Kevin Kühnert is going into the coalition race in matters of building and living. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas as negotiator for foreign, security and development policy, Minister of Justice Christine Lambrecht for internal security, Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil for work.

In addition to party leader Christian Lindner (in charge), FDP vice-president Johannes Vogel, board member Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann and Andreas Pinkwart, currently economics, innovation and energy ministers in North Rhine-Westphalia, are at the start of the FDP. For the Greens, in addition to party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Konstatin von Notz, among others.

The ranks of negotiators are thus prominently occupied – and this was felt by NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet of all people: Because of the talks in Berlin, not all heads of government were able to appear at the annual conference of prime ministers on Thursday afternoon at Drachenburg Castle in Königswinter, North Rhine-Westphalia. The group photo had to be postponed.

The sticking point is also the financing of climate protection

The sticking points in the search for a program for a traffic light coalition are still differences in tax and financial policy, as well as the right path to climate protection.

Before the start of their coalition negotiations, however, politicians from the traffic light parties concretized their ideas for financing the planned investments. The state development bank KfW is to play an increased role, said FDP General Secretary Volker Wissing in the ZDF “Morgenmagazin”. KfW could finance many investments in climate protection, for example – while respecting the guidelines implemented by the FDP in the traffic light explorations: “No tax increases and no loosening of the debt brake,” Wissing continued.

Greens see coal phasing out in 2030

Greens Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner also pointed out that sub-areas of the climate had not yet been discussed in the preliminary assessments – such as phasing out the internal combustion engine, air traffic or rail policy. It still has to be refilled. But the framework is good. With a view to the coal phase-out, which the three partners “ideally” aim for in 2030 according to the exploratory paper, the Green politician said that they would work with all their might. “I’m sure we can do that by 2030. We can do it.”


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