The Alliance for a New German Government, led by the center-left, has reached an agreement.
On Wednesday, a center-left coalition of parties struck a deal to form Germany’s new government, replacing Angela Merkel’s cabinet and placing the Social Democrats (SPD) in power for the first time in 16 years.
Two months after defeating Merkel’s conservative CDU-CSU party in a federal election, the SPD reached an agreement with the Greens and liberal Free Democrats on a roadmap for Germany’s next four years, naming Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, 63, as chancellor.
International allies fearful of a shackled Germany amid crises like the coronavirus pandemic in Belarus and a sluggish economic recovery are likely to be relieved by the quick agreement.
As hospital beds fill up and new infections reach record highs day after day, calls for greater urgency from the new alliance to halt a surging fourth wave of the epidemic have become stronger.
Merkel, who is leaving politics after four years, invited the heads of the new coalition parties for meetings on the quickly deteriorating Covid issue midway through their last round of talks on Tuesday, signaling the urgency of the situation.
The incoming government stated in their accord released on Wednesday that it will form a crisis squad to deal with the health crisis.
The so-called coalition contract effectively lays out their policy priorities for the duration of their term in office.
It includes a proposal to move Germany’s coal exit from 2038 to 2030, a vow to reinstate the country’s constitutionally defined debt ceiling for 2023, and a proposal to legalize cannabis for recreational use.
A contentious aspect of the talks, which party gets which ministry, was also resolved.
With the FDP in possession of the influential finance ministry, Christian Lindner, the party’s leader, is ready to assume charge of Europe’s largest economy’s finances.
The Greens will have a new “super-minister” combining the economic, climate protection, and energy portfolios, as well as the foreign ministry, with Robert Habeck, co-leader of the ecologist Greens, set to take the environmental portfolio.
The Green Party’s other leader, Annalena Baerbock, is set to become Germany’s next foreign minister, making her the country’s first female foreign minister.
The line-up suggests that Germany may adopt a more forceful stance toward China and Russia, while maintaining fiscal discipline and actively promoting green investments.
The lightning speed with which the three parties – called in Germany as the Ampel or “traffic-light” for their colors – came together was astonishing. The Washington Newsday Brief News is a daily newspaper published in Washington, D.C.