What to expect from the new German government

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The center-left alliance that will rule Germany from Wednesday has declared its ambition to make Europe’s largest economy greener and fairer.

In their coalition agreement, the Social Democrats, Greens and the liberal FDP addressed issues ranging from climate protection to foreign policy to cannabis.

Here are the main points of their roadmap for Germany:

No New Debt Germany’s no-new debt rule had been suspended during the coronavirus pandemic, allowing the government to borrow billions to finance its exit from the crisis.

But the country’s next government – known as the “traffic light” coalition because of the red, green and yellow colors of the parties – is considering a return to the rule entrenched in the German constitution.

In their agreement, they pledged to restore the debt brake by 2023.

Maintaining the debt brake was imperative for the FDP, and Social Democratic Finance Minister Olaf Scholz – who will be the next German Chancellor – has also long been a defender of the rule.

The parties also agreed not to raise taxes during their tenure, according to a tweet from FDP leader Christian Lindner – a victory for his party which refused to increase the tax burden on taxpayers.

Minimum wage, housing, voting at 16

To keep housing affordable, the coalition agreed to build 400,000 new homes per year, 100,000 of which with public funds. A cap will be introduced on rent increases, limiting any increase to a maximum of 11% in three years.

The tripartite combo also agreed to lower the voting age to 16, which should favor the Greens and the FDP, who have younger supporters than Angela Merkel’s conservatives, who are largely backed by the military. German pensioners.

The main victory of the Greens took the form of an accelerated exit from coal energy, which must be brought forward eight years to 2030.

The parties also agreed to “further develop” the country’s current climate protection law in 2022 and “produce all necessary laws, regulations and measures” on this front.

The expansion of sustainable energy will be “dramatically accelerated and all obstacles and obstacles will be removed”, with the aim of ensuring that sustainable energy will represent 80% of the country’s mix by 2030.

In view of the powerful German auto industry, the parties agreed to put 15 million pure electric cars into circulation by 2030, up from just over 500,000 currently.

Combustion engine vehicles will no longer be approved from 2035.

Sovereign Europe The parties insist they “want to increase Europe’s strategic sovereignty” – likely to please the continent’s second power, France, which has made it a priority of its EU presidency in from 2022.

But the transatlantic relationship will remain a “central pillar” for Germany, and NATO is an “indispensable element” for the security of the country, the text specifies.

And potentially in favor of Poland or Hungary, the parties want “an EU that protects its values ​​and its rule of law internally and externally”.

Presenting the coalition agreement, Annalena Baerbock, the co-leader of the Greens who will assume the role of foreign minister, pledged to put human rights back at the center of German diplomacy and called for more firmness towards the Russia and China.

Legalize cannabis The recreational use of cannabis will be legalized under the new government, making Germany one of the few countries in the world to do so.

“We will introduce controlled distribution to adults for consumption in licensed stores,” the parties say in the document.

“This will help control quality, prevent the circulation of contaminated substances and ensure the protection of minors.”

Migration The coalition also aims to liberalize migration and citizenship rules, movements long fought against by Merkel’s conservatives.

Migrants who are currently simply “tolerated” in Germany – allowed to stay but without the right to work – would be offered a procedure to obtain formal residence permits.

In addition, the right to dual nationality would be extended and foreign citizens would have a faster path to becoming German, in the case of “particular achievements in integration” after only three years of residence.

Abortion Parties have pledged to abolish paragraph 219a, a controversial piece of Nazi-era law that makes it illegal to “advertise” abortion services.

“Doctors should be able to provide public information about abortions without fear of prosecution,” they say in the document.

(AFP)

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