Traffic light crisis meeting goes into the next round

Old heating systems, debt brakes, freeways: there is little that the traffic light does not argue about. Negotiations dragged on on the third day as well.

The top politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP have resumed their talks in the coalition committee. In the coalition committee they are looking for compromises on various controversial issues. According to reports, the main focus is on more climate protection in the transport sector and faster construction of motorways.

The heads of the traffic light coalition started their talks on a number of controversial issues on Sunday evening, but interrupted them early Monday afternoon because Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and several ministers had to travel to the German-Dutch government consultations in Rotterdam. The CDU, CSU, AfD and Left viewed the interruption as a disgrace and a sign of poverty.

Union faction leader Friedrich Merz has attested to the traffic light coalition being unable to act. “We obviously have a government crisis in Germany,” said Merz, who is also CDU chairman, on Tuesday before a meeting of CDU/CSU MPs in Berlin. The federal government can no longer agree on essential issues. “She has been constantly arguing in public for the past few days and weeks.”

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) “at times stood on the sidelines like an uninvolved person and acted as if he had nothing to do with the whole thing,” criticized Merz.

Merz questions the continued existence of the coalition

When asked what result he expected from the negotiations of the coalition committee, Merz replied: “After so many hours of fruitless consultations, you can basically hardly count on viable and resilient solutions.” He could “hardly imagine that there is still a sufficiently secure basis for the continued existence of this coalition”. Merz added: “We will probably hear formula compromises and we will see that the quarrels in this coalition will continue unchanged afterwards.”

Scholz justified the postponement with the complexity of the tasks to be solved. It is about the modernization of Germany. “We want to make very clear, concrete statements that will enable us to achieve the necessary pace,” he said in Rotterdam. He referred to the expansion of renewable energies, the power grid and the transport infrastructure.

Sharp criticism from the Union and the left

After arriving in the Dutch city, Scholz said that “very, very good progress had been made”. Scholz called the consultations in Rotterdam “a nice interim period that we are now having here with our friends in the Netherlands”.

The heads of the alliance wanted to work through a long list of points of contention in the chancellor’s office. Climate protection in transport was indicated as the biggest topic of conflict – because the federal government has to reverse the trend here. According to the Federal Environment Agency, greenhouse gas emissions in this area have recently increased instead of decreasing as is actually necessary.

Autobahn A5 (archive photo): Here the men stayed in the left lane.
Traffic issue: How does the traffic light intend to reduce emissions here? (Quelle: rheinmainfoto/imago images)

The Greens in particular are demanding more effort from Transport Minister Volker Wissing. Its FDP not only strictly rejects a general speed limit on German autobahns and a reform of company car taxation.

The tone in the coalition had recently become rough on other issues as well:

Replacement of oil and gas heaters

The basic idea has actually long been agreed in the coalition: from 2024, if possible, only new heating systems that are operated with at least 65 percent renewable energy should be installed. In fact, this means the end of conventional oil and gas heating systems.

Habeck poured that into a controversial bill. SPD and FDP both emphasize that homeowners and tenants should not be overwhelmed. In search of a compromise, the traffic light had already progressed before the top meeting – without details leaking out so far.

Robert Habeck: Why is his collar bursting now?Robert Habeck: Why is his collar bursting now?
Triggered criticism with his heating plan: Economics Minister Habeck (Source: Frank Ossenbrink/imago images)


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