Financial slump for the Greens – an important item for the FDP

Which party was best able to enforce its content in the coalition agreement? A look at the paper gives an idea of ​​where the lines of conflict between the parties lay in the negotiations.

The weeks of negotiating have come to an end. On Tuesday afternoon, the leaders of the SPD, Greens and FDP presented their coalition agreement. “The traffic lights are on,” announced Olaf Scholz, who wants to replace Angela Merkel (CDU) in the Chancellery in December.

On 177 pages and in nine chapters, the three parties outline how they want to “dare to make more progress”. But what has become of the central election promises of the individual parties? An overview.

SPD

What were the biggest promises in the election campaign?

The Social Democrats fully relied on their core issues of social affairs and work. “Respect” was the central word that Olaf Scholz repeated in a mantra-like manner in every election campaign event. For the party at the top, more respect meant increasing the minimum wage. The hourly wage should be twelve euros in future, “so that everyone can live off their retirement when they are old.” Hartz IV also wants to convert it into a citizen’s money: two years, for example, assets and apartment size should not be checked. Anyone who pays into unemployment insurance for longer should receive unemployment benefit I for longer in future.

The pension policy should also ensure more respect: During the election campaign, the future Federal Chancellor spoke to t-online of a “pension guarantee”. The level of the pension should therefore remain stable at at least 48 percent. The same applies to the entry age: it should remain at 67 in the future.

Similar to his time as Mayor of Hamburg, Scholz also promised a new building initiative to provide more affordable housing: every year, the SPD announced 400,000 new apartments for Germany in its election program, a quarter of which were state subsidized.

What can be found in the coalition agreement?

If you look at the distribution of the departments, the party has all the competencies in its central issues: The Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs will continue to be led by a Social Democrat, the previous Minister Hubertus Heil is also considered to be in office for the coming government. In addition, the party will also provide a Federal Minister for Building and Housing, which will give the topic a massive boost. In the previous government, the tasks were still assigned to the Interior Ministry by Horst Seehofer (CSU).

Olaf Scholz: The SPD politician is to replace Angela Merkel in the Chancellery in December. (Source: Michael Kappeler / dpa)

Accordingly, the SPD was able to enforce its planned 400,000 new apartments per year in the coalition agreement. The same applies to the increase in the minimum wage to twelve euros and the reform of Hartz IV to a citizen’s benefit. The latter, however, had also demanded the Greens. There should actually not be an examination of the property and the size of the apartment within the first two years. A longer term of unemployment benefit I, on the other hand, is no longer included in the contract.

In terms of pension policy, too, the SPD was able to anchor its goals in the coalition agreement. The pension level should continue to be at least 48 percent, there should be no increase in the entry age, but the number 67 is not explicitly mentioned.

Green

What were the biggest promises in the election campaign?

Unsurprisingly, the most important election promises made by the Greens revolved around the climate. In order to get on the 1.5 degree path, more stringent goals are needed: a coal phase-out and at least 70 percent fewer greenhouse gases by 2030, 100 percent renewable energies by 2035. This should be achieved with an “immediate climate protection program”, which measures directly effective initiates, for example in traffic, in residential construction and in the expansion of renewable energies. An “energy money” should relieve families and low-income earners in particular.

In addition to coal, combustion engines should also end in 2030, according to the Greens’ plans. From the year onwards, only emission-free cars should be allowed to be registered. To do this, the Greens wanted to significantly expand the rail network and also reactivate the disused night lines.

In order to get Germany going again after the Corona crisis, the Greens announced an additional 50 billion euros annually to invest in fast internet, charging stations, research or low-emission transport. The money should come from loans. To do this, however, the debt brake anchored in the Basic Law would have to be reformed.

What can be found in the coalition agreement?

For example the term “immediate climate protection program”. What exactly this will look like has not yet been determined: The traffic light parties announced that they would get it off the ground with all “necessary laws, ordinances and measures” by the end of the coming year.

Another promise is also well on its way: the coalition agreement envisages a renewable energy share of 80 percent for 2030 – the Greens themselves only spoke of “at least 70 percent” in their election manifesto for the year. To achieve this goal, the future coalition partners want to significantly accelerate expansion and remove “all hurdles and obstacles”. In addition, the coalition is committed to an accelerated phase-out of coal-fired power generation: This should “ideally” succeed by 2030.

The word “energy money” does not appear in the contract. However, the traffic light parties promise: “We are relying on rising CO2 prices as an important instrument, combined with a strong social balance and will support people with lower incomes in particular.”

Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck: The chairwoman of the Greens will probably be the future foreign minister, her colleague will be climate and economics minister.  (Source: dpa / Michael Kappeler)Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck: The chairwoman of the Greens will probably be the future foreign minister, her colleague will be climate and economics minister. (Source: Michael Kappeler / dpa)

When it comes to combustion engines, there is no hard limit to 2030, but it can still be read in parts in a softened and claused manner: “According to the proposals of the European Commission, only CO2-neutral vehicles will be allowed in the transport sector in Europe in 2035 – this will take effect in Germany earlier off “, it says in the contract. By 2030, Germany should also become the lead market for electromobility with at least 15 million e-cars, and 1 million charging stations should be publicly accessible by then.

The Greens have to accept a setback in reforming the debt brake. It is anchored in the Basic Law and imposes strict limits on the state for new borrowing. According to the coalition agreement, once the Corona crisis has been overcome, it should apply again without restrictions – unlike the Greens wanted.

At the same time, however, the three parties promise a “decade of future investments”. They want to significantly increase public and private investments, for example for climate protection, digitization, education, research, infrastructure and the economy. Compliance with the debt brake should nevertheless be achieved by eliminating unnecessary and climate-damaging subsidies and expenses. However, concrete figures are missing in the contract.

The fact that climate protection is of the greatest importance to the Greens can also be seen in the distribution of the ministries: The party receives three ministries that deal roughly with nature, the environment and the climate. The Ministry of Economic Affairs is supplemented by the topic of climate protection, which is very likely to be taken over by Robert Habeck. In addition, the party also receives the Ministry of the Environment and Food and Agriculture. Only the Ministry of Transport, which has long been treated as a green department, is part of the FDP with Volker Wissing.

FDP

What were the biggest promises in the election campaign?

The main theme of the Liberals was a leaner tax policy and a boost to the economy, which has been weakened by the corona pandemic. “Relieve, unleash, invest” was the watchword. FDP leader Christian Lindner therefore announced that under no circumstances would his party join a government that was planning to raise taxes. On the contrary, he promised: The corporate tax should fall to around 25 percent and the solidarity surcharge should be completely abolished. The level of the top tax rate should be increased gradually so that it only applies to income of 90,000 euros or more.

Christian Lindner: The FDP chairman is to become the new federal finance minister.  (Source: dpa / Michael Kappeler)Christian Lindner: The FDP chairman is to become the new federal finance minister. (Source: Michael Kappeler / dpa)

In the pension policy, the party campaigned for more flexibility: In principle, citizens should be free from the age of 60 how long they want to work. The longer you work, the higher your pension should be. In addition, the FDP promoted entry into the statutory share pension: Part of the monthly pension contribution should be invested in the capital market in the future.

What can be found in the coalition agreement?

In the future, questions of money and finance will be Christian Lindner’s job: As already announced in the election campaign, the FDP boss will become federal finance minister – a success. The FDP also prevailed on the issue of the debt brake.

The relief planned by the Liberals is not to be found in the coalition agreement: The word “solidarity surcharge” does not appear once in the 177-page document. When it comes to corporate tax, the traffic light is “a concern to modernize and speed up tax audits”, but not to reduce them.

However, the paper does not provide for any increases. In the election campaign, the SPD in particular announced that it wanted to put more of a burden on top earners in the future. Instead, the coalition agreement is now free of tax increases, a compromise solution and thus already a success for the liberals.

Although the pension plans are heavily influenced by the SPD, the entry into the share pension as intended by the FDP is also planned. “We will also enable the German pension insurance to invest its reserves on the capital market in a regulated manner,” says the paper.

The retirement age should not be increased, as desired by the SPD. However, there should also be more freedom there: The traffic light wants to advertise more strongly for the Flexi-Rente and “enter into a social dialogue process about how wishes for a longer stay in working life can be realized more easily”.

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