The parties negotiating to form a coalition government in Germany are nearing a self-imposed deadline to conclude preliminary talks.
German media report there are four sticking points:
- Coal power: The Greens initially demanded closing Germany’s twenty most polluting coal plants. When the other parties balked, they suggested shuttering 10 gigawatts worth of coal-generating capacity. The others have offered 5 gigawatts.
- Europe: The liberal Free Democrats oppose a eurozone budget and permanent bailout mechanism. The Christian Democrats and Greens are more supportive.
- Family reunifications: The Christian Democrats are dead set against a Green party proposal to allow refugees to bring their relatives to live with them in Germany.
- Immigration cap: In a concession to the right-wing Christian Social Union, Angela Merkel has agreed to a “soft” ceiling of 200,000 immigrants per year. The Greens reject this.
Progress has been made:
- The Free Democrats accept they will not be able to cut income taxes as much as they wanted.
- The Greens have dropped their demand to ban all cars with internal combustion engines.
- All four parties agree the next government should maintain a balanced budget while investing in education, police and broadband Internet.
The parties are due to decide on Friday if it’s worth continuing negotiations.