Government coalition formation talks in Germany between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the Free Democrats (FDP), and the Greens have been stalling on the issues of climate change and immigration policies — with 11 hours of talks leading to a failure “to find much common ground” on the subjects, reportedly.
Photo of Greens negotiator Michael Kellner by Niklas Tschöpe (some rights reserved)
Negotiators for the parties in question will be resuming talks next week, but the outlook is now fairly hard to predict, owing to the great ideological differences of the groups in question. To oversimplify things a bit, you could consider Merkel’s running platform to be the “keep things going as they are until my generation dies” group; the FDP to be “pro unregulated and potentially harmful business,” and the Greens to be focused on climate change in the coalition talks.
On the subject of climate change mitigation efforts, the Greens are arguing for a rapid phaseout of coal-fired power plants, while the other two possible coalition partners seem to be steadfastly pro-coal.
While all 3 parties in principle agreeing to keep the current climate target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to 40% of 1990 levels by 2020, the preferred approaches of the parties remain quite different, reportedly. And it should be remembered here that Germany is currently on track to fall well short of achieving its climate change goals, so it’s an open question how serious Markel and her party actually are about the issue.
“[Michael] Kellner reiterated the Greens’ position that Germany should quickly close coal-fired power stations to help fight climate change, a position resisted by the other parties. ‘We are the first generation to experience climate change and we are the last generation who can stop it,’ he said,” according to Reuters.
“Chancellor Angela Merkel is trying to unite her divided conservative alliance, which suffered bruising losses in a national election last month, in a pact with two other parties that is untested at federal level. Immigration was the most divisive topic, with many conservatives keen to take a harder line after blaming their election setback on Merkel’s decision to open Germany to more than a million mainly Middle Eastern migrants in 2015 and 2016.”
Other than climate change mitigation and immigration policies, the only other major area of contention was reportedly with regard to European Union policy.
As it stands, many observers expect coalition talks to take several months — with the possibility that a viable coalition government can’t be formed at all.