The German coalition government presented on Tuesday the results of extensive 30 hours of negotiations to resolve a conflict that has threatened to delay important policy initiatives in Europe’s largest economy.
Finance Minister Christian Lindner declared that although the discussions had been intense, the result was “good”, adding that the decisions taken would not have a major impact on the state budget.
The agreement includes a review of climate protection laws, the reinforcement of highways and rail traffic, as well as a carbon emissions surcharge on German truck tolls to pay for some of the initiatives, tripartite government leaders said.
The coalition made up of Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) has been debating various proposals since last year, raising fears of a policy stalemate in Europe’s biggest economy.
The lack of progress and growing friction between the FDP and the Greens have raised questions about the ability of the Scholz government to push through with its ambitious program to modernize the economy. The opposition has accused the coalition of detrimental dysfunction.
When it was formed in 2021, the coalition had decided to avoid the kind of marathon talks at night and on weekends that took place under Scholz’s predecessor, Angela Merkel, arguing that they tended to undermine decision-making.
The German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, guaranteed this Tuesday that his coalition is determined to carry out the “modernizing impulse” that Germany needs and rejected that the tripartite that he leads is in crisis.
“The modernization of this country is a huge challenge”, affirmed Scholz, in an appearance in Berlin together with the president of Kenya, William Ruto. Just because his coalition meeting takes so long to come up with agreements doesn’t mean it’s in crisis, he said.
Issues of contention between the Greens and the Liberals included the expansion of motorways, controversial plans to replace gas and oil heating systems, which are scheduled to come into force in 2024, and the financing of the basic child allowance. The latter falls within the priority objectives of Scholz’s Social Democratic Party (SPD).
(With information from Reuters and EFE)
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