Germany already knows what its new government will be like.
The Social Democrat Olaf Scholz will lead the new German Executive, after reaching an agreement with two other parties after Angela Merkel decided not to opt for a new term after 16 years in power.
Two months after the Social Democratic Party (SPD) prevailed in the Federal Elections, Scholz reached a final agreement with the Greens and the Liberals to form a new coalition government.
The government agreement establishes the fight against climate change as the great priority of the new Executive.
The pact must still be endorsed by the rank and file of the parties that sign it, but it is expected that the new government can be definitively formed in December, once the vote in Parliament scheduled for between 6 and 9 of that month is passed.
It will be the end to the long era of Angela Merkel, who has dominated German and European politics in recent years.
The future of Germany, the great power of the European Union, will mark the future of the continental bloc and it is likely that other states will follow in their footsteps in defense of the environment, if they finally do so.
In the German press it has already been baptized as the “semaphore government”, because of the colors of the parties that will form it (red for the Social Democrats, green for the green and yellow for the Liberal Democrats).
The objectives of the new government
Fight against climate change: The parties have agreed to abandon coal as an energy source by 2030, eight years earlier than planned.
2% of the German territory will be dedicated to the generation of wind and hydrogen-based energy. The goal is that by 2030 80% of electricity is obtained from renewable energy sources and 15 million electric cars circulate on German roads.
The parties aim for Germany to reach neutrality in its polluting emissions by 2045 and solar energy panels will be mandatory on the roofs of all newly constructed commercial buildings. There will also be solar panels in residential buildings.
Germany will remain committed to the EU goal of abandoning internal combustion vehicles by 2035.
A foreign policy with Europe as a priority: The new government is committed to “increasing European strategic sovereignty”, which implies the search for greater independence in security, energy and other issues on the international agenda.
Scholz told a press conference: “The sovereignty of Europe will be a cornerstone of our foreign policy.” He also highlighted his friendship with France, his great ally in the EU.
However, Berlin’s relationship with the United States and other NATO members will remain central, according to the coalition’s plans.
Increase in the minimum wage and of public housing: the minimum wage will increase to 12 euros (US $ 13.45) per hour and 400,000 new apartments will be built. 25% of them will be offered as social housing.
I vote at age 16: the voting age will be lowered from 18 to 16 years, with the intention of reforming the electoral law to end the problem that the number of parliamentarians does not stop increasing. The current Bundestag has 735 deputies.
The change in the voting age in the elections to the European Parliament may be approved by a simple majority, which the signing parties are assured, but it will be more difficult in the case of the German federal elections, for which two thirds of the votes are required in the Bundestag.
Christian Lindner, leader of the Liberals and future finance minister, declared: “The younger generation has charged us with the job of overcoming the status quo of recent years.”
Facilities for immigrants to obtain citizenship: Immigrants will be able to apply for German citizenship at the age of five and will be allowed to have dual citizenship.
If it materializes, it would be a significant change for millions of immigrants, who remain foreigners despite the fact that many have been in the country for decades.
Fight against the covid: The government will create a task force to deal with the pandemic, now that Germany is among the European countries hit by a new wave of covid.
Scholz said that vaccination is the only way to overcome the pandemic and advocated making it mandatory in care centers for vulnerable people. It is also studying the possibility of forcing health professionals to be vaccinated.
Scholf, who announced a million-euro ($ 1.12 million) bonus for healthcare workers, is expected to take office at a time of rising infections.
“The outlook is bleak,” he declared. “The coronavirus has not yet been defeated,” he added.
The brake on debt returns: the German Constitution contemplates a maximum limit to the indebtedness of the country. Although it was lifted during the pandemic to address the need for public funds, the “semaphore” coalition plans to restore it before 2023.
End restrictions on advertising of doctors who perform abortions: the ban on doctors from advertising themselves as professionals who perform abortions will be removed, to allow them to provide all the information on the method of termination of pregnancy used.
Cannabis legalization: this substance may be sold in authorized establishments and controls will be established on its quality and transport.
The faces of the Executive
The new government will have Scholz, 63, as chancellor or head of government.
Scholz has been Deputy Chancellor and Finance Minister in Merkel’s coalition government since 2018 and has been on the front lines of German politics for years, so he will hardly come as a surprise to voters.
It is seen as a guarantee of stability and moderation, and in the September elections it managed to lead the German left to a victory that had resisted it for years.
But Scholz will have to come to terms with his two coalition partners, led by younger politicians and whose forces together garnered more votes than the SPD, so the new chancellor will have to make concessions to his fellow travelers and a negotiating effort will be required. .
The new Foreign Minister is expected to be Annalena Baerbock, leader of Los Verdes. Baerbock led environmentalists to the best results in their history and his face embodies the increased sensitivity of German voters to the climate problem.
The future minister has described the climate crisis as the greatest challenge of this time and has promised that Germany will reach the goal of neutral emissions in the expected time frame. That, as he has said, is the “common denominator” of the new government.
Together with Lindner, the liberal leader who will be finance minister, Baerbock is called to lead the new government and push Scholz to take bolder steps than he might have taken alone.
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