Positions of the parties: How much Europe is there in the traffic light?


Status: 23.10.2021 3:13 p.m.

Migration, energy, rule of law: the EU is divided on many issues. There remain a lot of construction sites for a new federal government. What plans do the traffic light parties actually have for Europe?

By Kai Küstner, ARD capital studio

In some places the traffic light parties SPD, Greens and FDP have already known their color: The debt brake remains untouched, the minimum wage is increased to twelve euros, no speed limit. There are no such stipulations for Europe so far. A sure sign that there is still a lot to discuss with a view to the EU – and a lot of potential for dispute. “We will strengthen the European Union” is the tenth and final chapter of the exploratory paper.

Kai Küstner
ARD capital studio

The EU should become more capable of acting and more democratic, that much – or rather little – is certain. But how exactly you want to achieve this must now be negotiated in the coalition talks: “There is definitely still a bit of work ahead of us, but I am confident that we can do it,” said Franziska Brantner in an interview with the ARD capital studio zu, who heads the Europe working group for the Greens.

An EU that “protects its values ​​and its rule of law internally and externally” is what the potential government partners want – this can confidently be read as a warning to Poland and Hungary. But that is not yet a clear sign that a stricter course than Chancellor Angela Merkel, who is always keen to mediate, will be taken in the dispute over the Polish judicial reform. Even if the Greens have already campaigned for a tougher course and sanctions.

Dispute over money – also at European level

Dispute over money threatens the SPD, Greens and FDP not only at national, but also at European level: For the first time in its history, the EU had taken on joint debts with the 750 billion euro Corona rescue fund. For the Greens and the SPD, this should not remain a one-off action, but for the FDP it is the devil’s stuff. Therefore, not a word about the fund or joint debts in the exploratory paper: “The basis of the negotiations is the common goal that Europe can emerge stronger and more sustainable from the corona pandemic,” is how the Greens politician Brantner sums up the lowest common denominator. How the traffic light wants to budget solidly at EU level and at the same time invest in climate and digital, it will have to clarify.

If Europe is to become more capable of acting, then, from a traffic light point of view, this also applies to the military: “We advocate increased cooperation between the national European armies,” says the exploratory paper. That can be read as a pretty clear rejection of an EU army. According to the motto: cooperation yes, pooling no.

Also, one of the favorite terms of French President Emmanuel Macron is not found in the paper: “strategic autonomy”. Macron would like to make the EU not only stronger militarily, but also more independent of NATO. “Without America’s nuclear and conventional capabilities, Germany and Europe cannot protect themselves” – with sentences like these, on the other hand, CDU Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer had always warned against cutting the cord too far from the USA. At first there is little to suggest that a traffic light government will overturn this basic stance and rely more on the EU than on NATO.

Different positions on Nord Stream 2

It is also no coincidence that there has so far been no indication of how a future federal government intends to deal with giants like China or Russia. Because here, above all, the positions of the SPD and the Greens are extremely far apart. What can be described very clearly using the example of Nord Stream 2: “It has been against Ukraine and against Europe’s common energy policy for years.” With this sentence, Green boss Annalena Baerbock underpinned in the daily topics their request not to put the gas pipeline into operation for the time being.

The FDP is also skeptical of the tube, but the SPD has hardly ever said a bad word about it. The result: the exploratory paper contains a very soft compromise sentence. Here, too, the following applies: A lot of work and possibly a lot of arguments await the traffic lights.

A strong Europe – but how? Plans for a traffic light coalition for the EU

Kai Küstner, ARD Berlin, 22.10.2021 · 19:35

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