German parties drill down to policy details in coalition talks

October 28, 2021


SPD Parliamentary group meeting in the Bundestag
Olaf Scholz, Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) candidate for Chancellor and Federal Minister of Finance, attends their party’s Parliamentary group meeting in the Bundestag.Credit: Kay Nietfeld/dpa

A month after the Germany’s elections, negotiators from the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) are entering into detailed negotiations on the formation of a centre-left coalition government.

Some 300 politicians begin meetings on Wednesday in 22 working groups. They are to draw up plans for what’s being called a “digital awakening,” for climate protection and social security, lifelong education, migration, security and foreign policy, among other poliy areas.

There is a lot of work to be done to find common ground between the parties, which had very different campaign manifestos.

The various working groups will have to agree their positions by November 10. These will then go to the senior negotiating teams around the party leaders.

The leaders hope to present a coalition agreement by the end of November, and have a new chancellor and government in place in the week beginning December 6.

The centre-left SPD topped the poll in September’s Bundestag elections, so if the timetable goes according to plan Angela Merkel will be succeeded by the SPD’s Olaf Scholz, who was vice-chancellor and finance minister in the outgoing coalition.

Merkel and the other members of that government were handed their certificates of dismissal by President Frank-Walter Steinmeier on Tuesday, but they will continue in office on an interim basis until a new chancellor is elected.

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