Coalition negotiations: That should be the way to the traffic light

Today the SPD, Greens and FDP begin their specific coalition negotiations. What is the schedule like, where can it still go wrong – and who is actually sitting at the table? Answers to important questions.

Today the 22 specialist working groups come together for the first time in full. Each group has four or six members per party – a total of 300 politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP are involved in the talks.

The talks should be concluded by November 10th – 6 p.m. The working groups then submit position papers on their subject areas. The main negotiating group is to take over the final editing and clarification of the unresolved questions. The coalition agreement should be ready by the end of November. It then has to be confirmed internally. With the FDP this happens at a special party conference, with the Greens in the form of a digital member survey.

The SPD is also considering convening an additional party congress. The special party congress could take place shortly before the planned election of Olaf Scholz as Chancellor in St. Nicholas Week.

That’s pretty clearly regulated. The working groups should only meet during the week between 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. There should be no night sessions. There are also detailed requirements: All teams should, for example, document their results and intermediate results in the same way, according to a guide from which the Reuters news agency quotes.

Reports can therefore be a maximum of six pages long. Format: font size eleven, Calibri, line spacing 1.5. A structure with six sections is required for the result papers. The last one is called “Financially Effective Measures”. In the appendix there is a sample table with several columns in which the budgeted funds are to be broken down by year. For this purpose, it must be indicated whether they have budgetary impact or whether the projects are financed in some other way. It must also be clear whether these are classified as investing or consuming.

Thematically, they are divided into seven blocks: Modern state and digitization, climate protection, the world of work, family and children, freedom and security, foreign affairs and defense, public finances. A trio of one MP or one MP from each party leads the groups.

The exploratory paper provides several points with which climate protection is to be promoted. Nevertheless, the Greens in particular could come under more pressure. Because some in the party notice what remains vague – or is even missing: for example an agreement on a general speed limit.

On the other hand, the expansion of green electricity is to be accelerated, solar systems are to become compulsory in new commercial buildings and the rule in new private houses. Two percent of the land area is to be devoted to onshore wind power.

The coal phase-out should take place by 2030 – but with the phrase “ideally”. The EU’s proposal to only allow CO2-neutral vehicles from 2035 is supported. In Germany, this should take effect earlier.

The exploratory paper provides for the pension level to be secured at 48 percent. Pension cuts are therefore off the table, and an increase in the retirement age is also ruled out. That could still cause dissatisfaction with the FDP.

Contribution increases or an increased federal subsidy can be considered for financing. It could be exciting if, for example, an FDP finance minister Christian Lindner has to make the money for it. The planned entry into a partial funding of the statutory pension insurance has a catch from the FDP’s point of view. The planned capital stock of ten billion euros is to be financed through the federal budget through a loan.

The investments should be made possible “within the framework of the constitutional debt brake”. Taxes such as income tax, business tax and VAT should not be increased. There should also be no new “property taxes” – such as a wealth tax.

This harbors potential for conflict. Because many in the Greens and the SPD are dissatisfied with the fact that because of this determination it remains open how necessary investments are to be financed – even if it is clear to them that the constitution would have to be changed in order to move away from the debt brake. A traffic light government lacks a majority for this. The FDP vehemently opposes taking advantage of the fact that the debt brake will be suspended again for next year due to the corona.

SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz would like to fill the future cabinet with as many men as women. Green politicians in particular are urging that the FDP also fill their government posts with equal representation – but prominent liberals reject a strict requirement here.

The working groups of the coalition negotiations

The working group Modern state and democracy is headed by Thomas Kutschaty, SPD state chief in North Rhine-Westphalia, the parliamentary manager of the Greens, Britta Haßelmann and the FDP domestic politician Konstantin Kuhle.

The working group Digital innovations and digital infrastructure SPD member of the Bundestag, Jens Zimmermann, the former federal manager of the Green Youth, Malte Spitz, and the liberal NRW economics minister Andreas Pinkwart are in charge.

In the working group Innovation, Science, University and Research are as leaders: Thomas Losse-Müller, SPD state politician in Schleswig-Holstein, the green Hamburg Senator for Science Katharina Fegebank, and Lydia Hüskens, state chairwoman of the Liberals in Saxony-Anhalt.

To the working group business belong as head of the parliamentary managing director of the SPD parliamentary group, Carsten Schneider, the former Green party leader Cem Özdemir and the FDP parliamentary group vice Michael Theurer.

The leadership of the working group Environment and nature protection: The leaders are Rita Schwarzelühr-Sutter, SPD State Secretary in the Federal Environment Ministry, Steffi Lemke, Member of the Green Party, and the FDP state chairman in Lower Saxony, Stefan Birkner.

Agriculture and Food: The leaders are Till Backhaus, SPD Environment and Agriculture Minister in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, the former Green Federal Agriculture Minister Renate Künast and the FDP member of the Bundestag Carina Konrad.

Mobility: The leaders are Anke Rehlinger (SPD), Transport Minister and Deputy Prime Minister in Saarland, Green Party leader Anton Hofreiter and FDP transport expert Oliver Luksic.

Climate, Energy, Transformation: The leaders are the SPD parliamentary deputy Matthias Miersch, the Green energy politician Oliver Krischer and the FDP climate politician Lukas Köhler.

Welfare state, basic security, pension: The leaders are the SPD member of the Bundestag Dagmar Schmidt, the Green member Sven Lehmann and FDP party vice-president Johannes Vogel.

Job: The leaders are SPD Vice Hubertus Heil, the Green Party member Katharina Dröge and FDP Vice Vice President Johannes Vogel.

Building and living: The leaders are SPD Vice-Vice President Kevin Kühnert, Member of the Greens Chris Kühn and the Bavarian FDP regional leader Daniel Föst.

Health and care: The leaders are the chairwoman of the SPD parliamentary group in Saxony-Anhalt, Katja Pähle, Maria Klein-Schmeink, member of the Green Party, and Christine Aschenberg-Dugnus, a health politician from the FDP.

Education and opportunities for everyone: The leaders are the Baden-Württemberg SPD parliamentary group leader Andreas Stoch, the NRW state chairman of the Greens, Felix Banaszak, and the FDP member of the Bundestag Jens Brandenburg.

Children, family, seniors and youth: The leaders are the deputy SPD party leader Serpil Midyatli, Greens parliamentary group leader Katrin Göring-Eckardt and the FDP parliamentary group deputy Stephan Thomae.

Culture and media policytik: The leaders are the Hamburg Senator for Culture Carsten Brosda, the previous Bundestag Vice-President Claudia Roth (Greens) and FDP budget expert Otto Fricke.

Internal security, civil rights, justice, consumer protection, sport: The leaders are the previous Federal Minister of Justice and Federal Family Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD), Konstantin von Notz, Member of the Green Party, and FDP Vice President Wolfgang Kubicki.

Equality, diversity: The leaders are the Saxon Minister of Social Affairs Petra Köpping, the Deputy Green Party leader Ricarda Lang and the lawyer Herbert Mertin (FDP).

Good living conditions in town and country: The leaders are the SPD member of the Bundestag Frank Junge, the Greens member of the Bundestag Manuela Rottmann and FDP board member Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann.

Flight, migration, integration: The leaders are Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD), Luise Amtsberg, Member of the Green Party, and the North Rhine-Westphalian FDP integration minister, Joachim Stamp.

Foreign, security, defense, development, human rights: The leaders are SPD Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, the Greens foreign expert Omid Nouripour and the FDP foreign politician Alexander Graf Lambsdorff.

Europe: The leaders are the SPD European politician Udo Bullmann, for the Greens and the FDP the European politicians Franziska Brantner and Nicola Beer.

Finances and budget: The leaders are the Rhineland-Palatinate SPD finance minister Doris Ahnen, the Green finance expert Lisa Paus and the FDP finance politician Christian Dürr.

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