BERLIN (Reuters) – The leaders of three German parties were due to present an agreement on Wednesday to form a coalition government that will see Social Democrat Olaf Scholz replace conservative Angela Merkel as chancellor.
A press conference was scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at the end of a final round of talks between the center-left Social Democrats (SPD), the Green environmentalists and the Free Democratic Libertarians (FDP).
The three parties want a greener, more socially-oriented Germany, which de-clutters the state in order to invest in the modernization of the country. They are also pro-European and want to promote multilateral cooperation.
These are some of the main political goals of the three parties, which set their priorities in a draft agreement last month.
Political cartoons about world leaders
The parties want to achieve zero net greenhouse gas emissions within 20 years. As part of their plans, the three parties agreed to commit to phasing out coal by 2030 in their coalition deal, sources involved in the talks told Reuters on Tuesday https: //www.reuters. com / business / cop / exclusive -the-German-pending-government-accepts-the-elimination-of-coal-by-2030-sources-2021-11-23. However, the Greens scrapped their plan for universal speed limits on Germany’s “limitless” highways, an idea that had little popularity among the FDP.
The most urgent problem facing the new government is a fourth wave of COVID-19. The leaders of the three parties, who met with Merkel on Tuesday evening, face increasing pressure within Scholz’s SPD to counter the wave of compulsory vaccinations – an issue they still grapple with.
The parties want Germany’s foreign policy to focus on strengthening Europe, in particular through cooperation with France and Poland, as well as multilateral relations with partners who share Germany’s democratic values.
The transatlantic alliance between the United States and its European partners is a central pillar of global cooperation, and NATO is an indispensable part of Germany’s security, they say.
An open question, however, is whether Berlin will continue to be part of the NATO nuclear sharing agreement under the new government, or step aside and ask the United States to remove its nuclear bombs from German soil.
The parties have said they will not increase income taxes, corporate taxes or value added tax. Instead, ‘super depreciation’ for investments in climate protection and digitization will boost the economy.
The new coalition partners want to make the 2020s a decade of investing in the future – to tackle the effects of climate change and make progress in digitization, education, research and infrastructure.
They want to cut red tape for public and private investment projects, with the aim of cutting at least half the time required for their implementation.
However, they also want to stick to Germany’s debt brake, which limits new borrowing to a tiny fraction of economic output.
Instead, they say, the government should cut all unnecessary, inefficient, or environmentally harmful subsidies and spending and step up the fight against tax evasion, tax evasion and money laundering. He would also continue to push for the introduction of a global minimum corporate tax.
The parties have indicated that they will increase the minimum wage to 12 euros ($ 14) an hour during the government’s first year in office.
They also aligned with their goal of building 400,000 new apartments a year to tackle the housing crisis, lower the voting age to 16 and create a points-based immigration system to attract skilled workers.
Adaptations of the laws on transgender, family and reproductive rights are also promised, in accordance with the wishes of the young voters who supported the FDP and the Greens.
All three parties appear to have kept their promises to allow dual citizenship – a huge change for thousands of ethnic Turks, many of whom remain foreign nationals after decades in Germany.
(Compiled by the Berlin Editorial Board, edited by Timothy Heritage)
Copyright 2021 Thomson Reuters.