FDP approves coalition agreement: self-confidence – sparingly dosed

To analyse

Status: 05.12.2021 7:29 p.m.

At its special party conference, the FDP approved the coalition agreement with the SPD and the Greens. After explorations and negotiations, the party now accepts the traffic light as the best interpretation of the federal election.

By Alfred Schmit, ARD capital studio

“Success through adaptation”, the FDP special party conference could definitely use this heading. Whereby this adaptation is mutual. Because on the way to the coalition agreement, the liberals had to adapt to the basic political stance of the Greens and the SPD. Conversely, the Greens and the SPD have also adapted strongly to the FDP demands.

Alfred Schmit
ARD capital studio

Successful negotiations for the FDP

Part of the basic attitude of the SPD and the Greens is to generally demand more climate protection – and more social equality. And that also includes a few FDP concessions on that very content: The Liberals accepted, for example, a higher minimum wage of twelve euros as planned – that was important to the SPD and the Greens.

And the FDP is now also supporting the Greens’ plans for the basic security for children – but they had never fundamentally questioned them anyway.

The Greens and the SPD, in turn, had to adapt to the FDP: no higher taxes, no speed limit, no end to private health insurance – just three examples from the coalition agreement. Clear case: In their view, the FDP negotiated well. And brought out prominent ministries with a lot of responsibility for money and future investments.

A lot of influence from FDP ministries

In contrast to the special party congress of the SPD, the approval of the FDP delegates to the coalition agreement is also a yes to the personnel table: If party leader Christian Lindner becomes federal finance minister, he can exert a great deal of influence on the scope of practically all ministries. And General Secretary Volker Wissing has a lot of responsibility as the prospective Minister for Transport and Digital.

The question will be, for whose benefit Wissing is active. Industrial interests and environmental protection are often reluctant to oppose each other. Wissing’s announcement that if the preferential tax treatment for diesel fuel should cease to exist that he would react by lowering the vehicle tax for diesel cars has already caused quite a stir.

Possibility to change

As Minister of Justice, Marco Buschmann will be able to initiate many changes that should bring German laws into line with social reality – for example in family law or Paragraph 219a, i.e. information about possible abortions.

As Minister of Education, Bettina Stark-Watzinger can catch up on what the federal government has failed to do so far. While there was still a strong focus on Lindner as a leader during the election campaign, one thing became clear at the party congress: The second row of the FDP has strong personalities, many of whom can now show how they work at the top of the ministries and in the parliamentary group .

It’s back to the Liberals

After years in the opposition, after the failure of the failed Jamaica negotiations in 2017 and being voted out of the Bundestag in 2013, things are now going well again for the liberals. They wear it with visible pride and noticeably try to dose their new self-confidence just enough that they don’t run the risk of appearing complacent.

The Free Democrats are otherwise quite susceptible to this accusation, simply because of their strong desire to come across as particularly efficient and professional. On the net, there is often talk of geek or best in class.

This is one of the reasons why party leader Lindner keeps using words like “humility” and “responsibility”. You don’t want to appear like a clique of management people, you want to show genuine concern for the common good – especially in times of the pandemic.

Consent to compulsory vaccination – now also with the FDP

A surprising number of FDP delegates spoke out in favor of a general compulsory vaccination against Covid-19 at this special party conference. The majority of the FDP electorate also supports this – like the majority of the German population as a whole.

Party leader Lindner thinks that if there are such strong changes in mood, it cannot be ignored. A “balance between freedom and health protection” must be found, he says. Such statements show another important strategy of this party: the will to react flexibly to changing majorities. Adaptation is proving to be the driving force here too.

After this party congress it is clear: the FDP can adapt. But she is almost even better at adapting others to herself.

FDP approves traffic light: Success through adaptation

Alfred Schmit, ARD Berlin, 5.12.2021 · 17:53


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