Election aftermath: Tracking the making of Germany's new government
Please note - you can find all our coverage of the new German government's climate and energy plans in our dossier: Germany's new govt promises to put Europe's biggest economy on 1.5°C path
New German govt sworn in, faced with climate 'project of immense proportions'
Two and a half months after the general elections, Germany officially has a new government. Olaf Scholz was elected chancellor by parliament with 395 out of 707 votes, making him the fourth Social Democrat (SPD) politician to become head of a German government since 1950. Afterwards, Scholz and his new cabinet received their appointment certificates from president Frank-Walter Steinmeier, marking the official end to 16 years of Angela Merkel’s leadership. Steinmeier said that the new government had taken on a project of “immense proportions” by focusing on climate action, a faster energy transition and a transition to a climate neutral economy.
New German government cabinet complete as parties greenlight coalition treaty
With the last minister choices announced and the Greens' and Social Democrat's (SPD) party basis confirming the coalition agreement, Germany's next government is set to be elected on Wednesday, 8 December. The SPD will post former environment minister Svenja Schulze to the ministry for economic cooperation and development, which has growing links to climate policy, whilst co-deputy party leader Klara Geywitz will run the newly created buildings department, a key sector for emissions reduction. With the last staff matters resolved and consent by the critical Green Party basis for the coalition treaty, the new government will take over from Angela Merkel's cabinet as soon as chancellor Olaf Scholz is elected by parliament and sworn in by the president this week.
Green Party proposes ministers for their departments after quarrel over agriculture
Following the publication of the coalition treaty, the Green Party has named its future ministers who will be in charge of the foreign office, the “super ministry" for economy and climate, the environment department, and the food and agriculture ministry. The appointments are pending a party member online poll. Climate minister and co-party leader Robert Habeck will double as the vice chancellor whilst co-leader Annalena Baerbock will be Germany’s new foreign minister. Although historically leaning towards the conservative CDU-CSU union, a German farming association embraced the new agriculture minister Cem Özdemir as a “political heavyweight” from whom much will be expected to make farming more sustainable. The same party being in charge of the agriculture ministry and the environment ministry could put an end to the traditional in-fighting between the two departments, a former agriculture minister hopes.
Next German government aims for coal exit in 2030 in bid to get on 1.5 degree path
The three parties planning to form the new German government have agreed on a coalition treaty that includes pulling forward the country's coal exit, "ideally" to 2030 from 2038, and rapidly speeding up the lagging rollout of renewables. The treaty crafted by the so-called "traffic light coalition" formed by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party, and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), has to deliver on the parties' key climate policy promise to get the country on an emissions reduction path compatible with the 1.5°C-degree global warming limit of the Paris Agreement.
Germany needs €860 billion investment to reach climate goals, industry group tells next government
The new German government should enable the investment of about 860 billion euros until 2030 to initiate emission reduction activities across all sectors of the economy, the influential lobby group Association of German Industries (BDI) has said. “The pressure on policymakers to achieve climate neutrality by 2045 while preserving a competitive industry is immense,” said BDI president Siegfried Russwurm. Ahead of its industry “climate day,” the association released a five-point-plan for the prospective new government coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). “The German industry expects the next government to swiftly decide on a reliable framework how to strengthen Germany as a country for export, industry and innovation,” he added.
Greens will be judged against keeping 1.5°C target alive in coalition treaty - media
Leaders of the three parties currently negotiating the coalition treaty for the next German government are confident that they will reach an agreement early this week. For the Greens and their supporters, the outcome will only be acceptable if the 1.5°C warming limit remains within reach through the policies and decisions outlined in the coalition agreement, Ulrich Schulte writes in the taz. At a party conference in Brandenburg this weekend, Green Party negotiator Michael Kellner spoke of “brutally exhausting negotiations” and the party’s co-leader, Annalena Baerbock, said she was at times frustrated when other parties refused to take responsibility for climate protection. Only if the party leadership is able to show that the treaty can keep the 1.5°C limit alive, will the Greens accept the deal, Schulte says.
Germany's Social Democratic Party has new climate movement - report
A new climate movement has formed within Germany's Social Democratic Party (SPD), which is set to lead the country's new coalition government currently in the making, according to energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. The initiative has emerged from the student protest movement Fridays for Future and the party's youth movement (Jusos), and six of its supporters have become members of parliament. "We have formed out of a great deal of dissatisfaction, because the SPD has so far not understood that Paris-compliant climate protection is a priority," 24-year-old Maximilian Herzog, one of the group's founders, told the newsletter.
Parties confident to agree coalition treaty, new government by end of November
The parties negotiating Germany’s next government coalition plan to table a coalition treaty and propose new government ministers next week. In a joint statement by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP), party representatives stopped short of announcing an exact target date and did not share information on the remaining disputes. However, they reiterated that the talks were going in the right direction. Michael Kellner, executive secretary of the Green Party, said the negotiations have been held in a “very good, very constructive and very thorough atmosphere.” Before Kellner’s statement on Tuesday, the Greens had warned that disputes particularly in climate policy continued to be significant and could potentially derail the agreed schedule. SPD secretary general Lars Klingbeil said the talks among party leaders would now continue “open-ended” on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday to ensure that the ground is prepared for an agreement before the end of the month. “We will make this happen,” Klingbeil added.
Greens warn coalition negotiations could still fail, FDP confident of timetable
The German Green Party's co-leader Robert Habeck has warned the ongoing coalition negotiations could still fail if the three parties cannot agree on a coalition treaty in line with the Paris Agreement's target of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. "If we don't meet this goal, the coalition negotiations will have failed. This has to be achieved, that is for sure," Habeck told public broadcaster RBB. While the Greens together with its negotiations partners from the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FDP) had agreed that climate action will be the next government's defining challenge, having a consensus on paper is not the same as translating it into actual measures, Habeck said.
FDP leader Christian Lindner said he is confident that the parties can stick to the envisaged schedule of the negotiations and make SPD candidate Olaf Scholz the new chancellor in the week starting on 6 December. "The FDP can do its part in resolving all contentious issues," the head of the pro-business party told newspaper Die Welt in an interview.
Coalition negotiations enter next round involving party heads
Germany's coalition negotiations enter a new round as 22 working groups present their results to the leadership of Social Democrats (SPD), pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), and Green Party, public broadcaster DLF reports. Remaining differences are now to be ironed out in new negotiations involving party heads. The prospective coalition partners want to conclude discussions by the end of this month, so acting finance minister Olaf Scholz (SPD) can take over from chancellor from Angela Merkel (CDU) and the new government can be sworn in during the week starting on 6 December.
Greens deny they relinquish claim to finance ministry
The Greens deny a media report in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung that says the party has relinquished its claim to take over the finance ministry. "That is wrong. There is no renunciation of any ministry and also no determination of who will become what," the Greens' spokesperson Nicola Kabel told Spiegel Online. Negotiations about the distribution of ministries between the prospective coalition parties are still outstanding, and the parties have said they want to settle this issue at the end of the ongoing coalition negotiations.
Climate “perhaps most important point” in planned coalition treaty – SPD
Climate action will become “perhaps the most important point” in the planned coalition treaty of the next German government, the Social Democrats‘ (SPD) secretary general Lars Klingbeil has said. “Everyone knows that something substantial has to happen in this area” in the coming legislative period, in particular with respect to renewables expansion, he said, adding that a coalition treaty with the Green Party and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) could be finalised by the end of the month as planned. “Overall, I’m very satisfied” with the talks, Klingbeil said.
Discontent Green Party says negotiations could take longer than planned
The German coalition talks could take longer than the planned deadline at the end of November, Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock has said, arguing that “key levers” in climate policy still had to be pulled before her party could sign a coalition contract with the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Free Democrats (FDP). “We’re not at a point where we could seal the deal,” Baerbock said after about four weeks of talks between the three parties. “A renewal of our country is supposed to happen in the next four years. So it won’t make a huge difference if the talks take four days more or less,” she added. The Green’s secretary general Michael Kellner said there is “too little progress” regarding the funding of central policy fields, especially in climate policy. SPD politician Malu Dreyer said she is still confident that her party’s candidate Olaf Scholz could be made chancellor in early December as planned. “It’s perfectly normal that there are a few hiccups” in the negotiations, Dreyer told public broadcaster ZDF.
Funding, burden sharing of climate action loom over quiet coalition talks
Finding sources of funding for climate action and ensuring a fair distribution of benefits and costs among different groups in society look set to become the main challenges for negotiators of a new German government coalition. While information from the talks between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP remains scarce, the parties' comments show that agreeing on measures to finance their goal of ambitious emissions reduction will be a tough battle over definitions and targets of expenses. The negotiations moreover look set to include attempts to shield their voter base from emissions reduction plans without appearing to slow climate action.
Head of Free Democrats says coalition will examine subsidy cuts
The head of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), Christian Lindner, tells regional newspaper Rheinische Post the prospective coalition partners will take a close look at cutting subsidies. "For example, we spend a billion euros on subsidies for plug-in vehicles that have no assured ecological benefit," Lindner said. "However, subsidy reduction must not become a tax increase for the working middle class, as would be the case with the commuter tax allowance." He added private capital will be crucial for investments in climate protection and digitalisation. "Public development banks such as the KfW could be helpful here."
“Traffic light coalition” parties aim to form new government by early December
The three parties hoping to form the so-called “traffic light coalition” say they aim to make the Social Democrat’s (SPD) candidate Olaf Scholz Germany’s new chancellor within the first week of December. In a joint press statement ahead of the first round of formal coalition negotiations, the secretary generals of the SPD, the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) said the working groups debating individual policy areas should conclude their deliberations by 10 November and a full coalition treaty should be ready by the end of that month. SPD candidate Scholz could then be elected as chancellor by parliament, given that all relevant bodies in the three parties give their consent to the treaty. “I’m sure that the coalition negotiations will be a success, given how well we worked together in the exploratory talks,” the Greens’ secretary general Michael Kellner said. “This means the Green Party will have a chance to become part of the federal government for the first time in 16 years,” he added. SPD secretary general Lars Klingbeil said the three parties would discuss the issue of quickly rising energy prices but stopped short of providing details before the start of formal coalition negotiations. “We are three parties that made it clear during election campaigns that we want to ease the financial burden for low and medium-wage earners. And now we look into how that can be done.”
Formal coalition negotiations to start soon after “traffic light” parties all give consent
All relevant bodies in the three parties expecting to form Germany’s next government have given their consent to enter into coalition negotiations, newspaper Tagesspiegel reported. After the Social Democrats (SPD) and the Green Party, the Free Democrats (FDP) also agreed on initiating formal talks to form a so-called “traffic light coalition,” named after the parties’ colours. The parties‘ leaders already said at the end of last week that they wanted to enter into negotiations but still had to wait for their parties’ full approval. Formal negotiations could already start in the next few days.
German “traffic light coalition” ponders introduction of climate ministry, FDP leader says
The possible new German coalition government of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democratic party (FDP) could install a “new climate ministry,” the head of the FDP, Christian Lindner, said, without specifying the body’s scope of influence. The idea was not mentioned in a consultation paper the three parties released at the end of last week when announcing their agreement to enter into formal coalition negotiations. A new ministry for climate action could centralise competencies currently spread out over several other ministries to ensure that the country gets on track towards reaching its cross-sectoral emission reduction targets. Lindner later qualified his statement, saying a climate ministry would so far only be his “expectation” and not yet an agreed measure.
Industry appears more content with “traffic light coalition’s” climate proposals than climate activists
Industry representatives in Germany have largely welcomed the ideas proposed by the possible next government coalition of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP). Kerstin Andreae, former Green Party MP and now head of the energy industry association BDEW, said the energy industry’s first impression of the parties’ ideas was “extraordinarily positive.” Industry federation BDI said the talks among the parties signalled that they are “on track” to form a new government. BDI head Siegfried Russwurm welcomed that the parties do not plan to introduce new or higher taxes. “This has to be about preserving growth and competitiveness,” Russwurm said. Climate activists are more critical of the results presented by the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. Luisa Neubauer, a leader of the Fridays for Future climate protest movement in Germany, told media association RND that the coalition’s plans failed to win her consent. Simply doing more for climate action than the previous government would not be enough, she argued. “It’s about doing enough to comply with international climate promises,” she said. With the paper the coalition parties released on Friday “this won’t be possible.” Environmental group Greenpeace said the three parties’ proposals contained a lot of “good will” but are nevertheless inadequate for putting Germany on a path compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Three weeks after Germany’s election, the country is moving one step closer towards its first three-party government coalition. Following several days of intensive preliminary talks, the Social Democrats, the Green Party and the Free Democrats said they would seek to enter into formal coalition negotiations soon and strive to form a new government before the end of the year. All three parties stressed the amicable tone in the talks that could help the country to have a “fresh start” and pave the way for an ecologic modernisation of the economy that complies with climate targets. Most people in Germany strongly back the formation of a so-called “traffic light coalition,” but the start of formal negotiations still hinges on the consent of all relevant party bodies.
CDU to dissolve entire party leadership
After scoring its worst-ever election result in Germany’s modern history, the conservative CDU will dissolve its entire leadership (Bundesvorstand) and elect a new one at a special party conference, CDU secretary general Paul Ziemiak has said. The party’s regional organisations should decide at the end of October whether the CDU should use a ballot vote by its roughly 400,000 party members to decide on a new leadership. The party conference would likely take place at the end of this year or at the beginning of 2022, Ziemiak said. Tobias Hans, CDU state premier of Saarland, said the new leadership would have to introduce a “new voice” to the party and do away with the “myth” that climate action comes at low costs, newspaper Tagesspiegel reported.
The formation of a so-called “traffic light” coalition in Germany is edging closer, as the leaders of the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) have agreed to intensify informal talks on a three-party government. According to newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung, the parties now assess the potential for cooperation in specific policy fields in smaller negotiating groups, with finances, taxation and climate action reportedly emerging as the biggest stumbling blocks. The parties will continue their talks until the end of the week, when they could decide whether to enter into formal coalition negotiations.
Departure of economy minister Altmaier and ex-party leader Kramp-Karrenbauer shakes conservatives
The unexpected decision by two senior CDU politicians -- economy and energy minister Peter Altmaier and defence minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer -- to leave the German parliament has sent shockwaves through the conservative alliance. After their party scored its worst-ever election result in modern history, the ministers announced their withdrawal from parliament to make room for younger party colleagues and enable a fresh start for the whole conservative party. The departure of Altmaier, who has also served as Angela Merkel’s chief of chancellery, and of Kramp-Karrenbauer, who led the CDU between 2018 and 2020, could herald a difficult restructuring phase for the party, newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung writes. “Two weeks after the elections, this clearly shows that the party has not completed but merely begun a major transformation process.” Both ministers are expected to stay in office until a new government has been sworn in.
Greens and FDP caution climate action costs could become hurdle in coalition talks
Leading members of the German Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) have warned against premature expectations regarding the formation of a new government coalition together with the Social Democrats (SPD), Focus Online reports. Green Party co-leader Robert Habeck said there would still be “considerable differences” in some areas, especially climate action financing and fiscal policy. “There are clear differences between us and also between the SPD and the FDP with regard to finances. And finances not only concern the budget but also our potential investments in climate action,” Habeck said. The FDP’s secretary general, Volker Wissing, told newspaper Bild Zeitung that his party would stick to its demands regarding financial and fiscal policy, reiterating that the FDP is opposed to tax hikes and to any weakening of the public debt brake. “We stick to that. Debt does not create a future,” Wissing said.
After a day of three-way talks, Social Democrats, FDP and Greens have decided to continue sounding out whether they want to form Germany’s next government coalition, and plan to meet again next week. The three parties will meet Monday (11 October), Tuesday and Friday. The parties want to discuss "all issues" in the coming week, and have decided to maintain silence and not talk publicly about the content of their negotiations.
Meanwhile, Germany's conservative leader Armin Laschet has said he is ready to stand down as head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) less than two weeks after an election that saw the party lose to the rival Social Democrats. The 60-year-old said he would be asking for a special congress of the CDU to determine the "future and reorganisation" of the party leadership, writes Euronews.
Greens co-leader calls for speedy coalition talks to create new German “climate government”
Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock has called for speedy coalition talks with election winner SPD and the pro-business FDP to make the next German government a “climate government”. In an interview with public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk (Dlf) ahead of today’s start of the three-way talks, Baerbock said the urgency of the climate crisis has become more than clear in past months. She said the talks with the two possible partners would not be easy - partly because “FDP and we Greens have been far apart [on climate] so far”. However, a cooperation also presented a big opportunity to “create a new dynamic” in Germany and Europe. As the world would not wait for Germany and challenges had to be tackled swiftly, talks had to “move forward constructively and quickly”, said Baerbock.
German election winner the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the pro-business FDP have decided to enter joint talks to sound out a common base to form the next government coalition. After a series of bilateral talks between parties which could form a coalition over the past days, the Greens’ leadership proposed to enter three-way exploratory talks. Should these succeed, then representatives from all partners could enter official coalition negotiations to hammer out an agreement that is likely to have a large focus on climate and energy transition policy.
Greens and FDP to decide on coalition option after bilateral talks end
After a last bilateral meeting of German parties which could theoretically form a government coalition, the Green Party and the FDP must now decide whether to start coalition talks with election winner SPD or the conservative CDU/CSU alliance.
After today’s meeting with CDU and CSU, the Greens’ co-leader Annalena Baerbock said the two political camps “are far apart on socio-political issues”, but in other areas have common concerns, namely digitalisation and the ecological transformation. CDU head Armin Laschet said that policy differences could be overcome and his party would stand ready to try and form a coalition with the Greens and the FDP.
The Green Party leadership did not specify when a decision would be made public, or whether the party would first consult with the FDP. First, the party would talk internally, said co-leader Robert Habeck. “We will take time for this today and tomorrow.”
"We have a mandate to form a new beginning in Germany" - Greens, FDP
After a second round of pre-exploratory talks on 1 October, Green Party and FDP leaders said the process of building bridges between the two has begun in a good atmosphere, but is not yet finished. “The Greens and the FDP are the forces that have challenged the status quo the most. We feel we have a mandate to form a new beginning in Germany," said FDP head Christian Lindner after the meeting.
Motorway speed limit no red line for Greens
The Green Party will not insist on its demand for a general speed limit on German motorways if they become part of the country’s next government coalition. A speed limit of 130 kilometres per hour on the country’s ‘autobahn’ network has been part of the Greens’ and the Social Democrats’ (SPD) election programmes, but is staunchly rejected by the Free Democrats (FDP), with whom the other two parties could soon enter into negotiations to form a so-called “traffic light” coalition, named after the parties’ colours. The Greens’ parliamentary group co-leader told the Rheinische Post newspaper that his party would still strive for the introduction of a speed limit but would not enter the coalition talks with red lines regarding detailed legislation and rather work for a more general restart of climate action measures. “We will find joint solutions with the FDP,” Anton Hofreiter said. Germany is the only country in Europe that does not have a general speed limit on parts of its highway network and the question of introducing one for climate protection and safety reasons has been hotly debated as some motorists in the car-loving nation regard the freedom to drive as fast as they like as an example of civil liberty.
Parties pledge to strive for quick progress on forming new government
Germany’s major parties are gearing up for exploratory talks about possible coalition negotiations in earnest next week, with leading party members promising to strive for the quick formation of a new government, news website Zeit Online reports. “We shouldn’t be sounding out or options forever,” said Norbert Walter-Borjans, co-leader of the election winner Social Democrats (SPD). Walter-Borjans said he hopes for “quick progress” leading to official coalition negotiations. Green Party co-leader Annalena Baerbock also stressed she wants to “swiftly initiate talks,” while the conservative CDU/CSU alliance signalled that it would like to finish exploratory talks by mid-October. All parties hope to have agreed on a new government by late December, the article said. After a first informal meeting between the heads of the Green Party, further talks are planned between the FDP and the Greens, the FDP and the SPD, the Greens and the SPD and the FDP and the CDU/CSU over the weekend. The Greens and the conservatives plan to meet early next week.
FDP and conservatives agree to hold talks on possible coalition negotiations
The conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the pro-business FDP have agreed on talks to sound out the prospects for a coalition at the end of the week, public broadcaster ARD reports. The conservatives under chancellor candidate Armin Laschet came in second behind the Social Democrats (SPD) in the election but still have a chance to form a government together with the FDP and the Green Party in a so-called Jamaica-coalition, named after the parties’ colours.
What are the climate and energy plans of German election winner Scholz?
Chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz will have to walk a thin line between meeting the requirements for putting Germany on track towards climate neutrality and not alienating voters who supported the SPD due to its promise not to overburden citizens with climate action costs. The possible next chancellor of a government coalition that includes the Green Party and the pro-business FDP has said he wants to become a "climate chancellor" - like his predecessor Merkel - but judging by his past policy choices he still has work to do to live up to his stated ambition. Read about his positions here.
Parties meet for pre-exploratory coalition talks
FDP and Greens have said they will meet again on 1 October for further talks on a possible government coalition with either the SPD or the CDU/CSU, reports Tagesschau. A larger leadership group will enter first talks about policy. The FDP also said it aims to have first meetings with SPD and conservatives over the weekend, and the Greens plan similar talks over the coming days.
Greens, FDP meet to sound out common ground
Green Party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck met with FDP head Christian Lindner and secretary general Volker Wissing to sound out common ground. "In the search for a new government, we explore common ground and bridges over divides. And even find some. Exciting times," Habeck wrote in a post on instagram.
The Social Democrats said they are ready to initiate exploratory government coalition talks with the Greens and the FDP as early as this week directly following the election, reports public broadcaster ARD.
Green Party, FDP most popular parties among young voters in German election
The Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) were the two most popular parties among young voters in the German elections, an analysis conducted by research institute Forschungsgruppe Wahlen has found. At 22 and 19 percent of the share, respectively, the Greens and the FDP led the scoreboard among voters younger than 30 years.
27 September 2021
Climate policy rift promises thorny talks between German election ‘kingmakers’ Greens and FDP
Following a tight election that saw the Social Democrats narrowly beat the conservatives, the smaller Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) look set to become decisive for building a new government that must set Germany on course for climate neutrality. While both parties follow a pro-climate course, deep divisions over the right approach to reducing emissions will make an agreement between Greens and FDP a challenge. An earlier coal phase-out, setting an end to the sale of combustion engine cars, and a speed limit on the country's autobahns are among the most controversial issues. Read the story here.
Kingmakers among themselves: Greens and pro-business Free Democrats will talk first
The head of the Green Party parliamentary group, Anton Hofreiter says Greens and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) will start exploratory coalition talks "in a very small circle" to find common ground.
The party leader of the FDP, Christian Lindner, also announced they would enter into pre-exploratory talks with the Greens, adding that his party will be open to negotiations with SPD and conservatives to form a coalition government afterwards.
Olaf Scholz, chancellor candidate of the Social Democrats (SPD), said the voters had given his party a clear mandate: “We should form a government with the Free Democrats and the Greens”.
26 September 2021
Germany heading for three-party government with climate focus after tight elections
Germany is heading towards a three-party federal government with a significant climate action focus as the Social Democrats scored a thin victory in the federal elections following an unexpected comeback, and the long-ruling conservatives slumped to their worst result ever.