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Progress in German Coalition Talks, But Four Sticking Points

The parties still disagree about coal power, Europe and immigration.

German parliament Berlin
Reichstag in Berlin, Germany (Unsplash/Fionn Große)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Europe: The liberal Free Democrats oppose a eurozone budget and permanent bailout mechanism. The Christian Democrats and Greens are more supportive.
  3. 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.
  4. 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

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.

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