German Free Democrats, Greens Drop Red Lines

The liberals accept smaller tax cuts while the Greens soften their climate goals.

German chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from reporters in Valletta, Malta, November 11, 2015
German chancellor Angela Merkel answers questions from reporters in Valletta, Malta, November 11, 2015 (European Council)

Germany’s Free Democrats and Greens have each dropped demands in order to make progress in coalition talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats.

Merkel has set a ten-day deadline to finish preliminary discussions and start negotiations to form a government.

  • The Free Democrats have accepted they will not be able to cut income taxes as much as they wanted.
  • The Greens no longer insist on fixed dates to shut coal-fired power stations and ban cars with internal combustion engines.

No alternative

The three parties are still far apart on climate, energy and immigration policies. Negotiations are expected to take months.

But they know there is no alternative. The Social Democrats have ruled out another grand coalition with Merkel’s conservatives. Neither Merkel’s party nor the Free Democrats are prepared to govern with the far-left Die Linke and nobody wants to team up with the far-right Alternative.