The traffic light coalition itself is not satisfied with its current account. Blockades of important legislative projects, public bickering, letters of ice-cold politeness: SPD, Greens and FDP are currently more in argument than in working mode. Verena Hubertz, SPD parliamentary group leader, called for "trustful talks in which we can find our way back to the spirit of the past year." An opportunity for this: the meeting of the coalition leaders in the evening in the Chancellery.
He hopes "that we can untie many knots and overcome many blockages this week," said Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) in the middle of the week in the "Daily Issues". Before that, he had really gotten into a rage: It couldn't be "that in a progressive coalition only one coalition partner is responsible for progress and the others for preventing progress." The coalition partners reacted angrily.
In fact, however, the Greens and the FDP in particular have got stuck in terms of content in a number of projects - even if, according to Habeck, there are no problems in personal cooperation. "We can talk about things calmly and almost normally, but we just can't get them across the political finish line," he said. One looks too much at the next elections, the next party congress.
So a whole lot of fuel has built up for the coalition committee:
Replacement of oil and gas heaters
The basic idea has actually long been agreed in the coalition: from 2024, if possible, only new heating systems that are operated with at least 65 percent renewable energy should be installed. In fact, this means the end of conventional oil and gas heating systems. Habeck poured that into a bill that leaked prematurely and sparked heated debates. SPD and FDP both emphasize that homeowners and tenants should not be overwhelmed. Basically, Habeck sees it the same way: He promises generous, socially graded support programs, about which he probably still has to speak with Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP).
A solution to the conflict could lie in transitional and hardship regulations, for which Habeck is also open. The SPD recently emphasized that the whole thing must also be practically feasible. So you have to consider how many heat pumps and alternatives there will be in the coming year and how many craftsmen will be available.
Faster construction of motorways too
For months, the coalition has been arguing whether only railway lines and bridges should be built more quickly or also motorways. The FDP wants the latter. Their argument: freight traffic on the road will increase significantly, congestion must be prevented. The Greens categorically reject a faster expansion of motorways.
A conceivable compromise is an agreement on selected projects that should be given preferential treatment - such as routes that are already so overloaded that there are constant traffic jams. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has presented a list of 144 of these bottleneck projects. According to reports, the SPD is now proposing to shorten this list again to the projects with the greatest cost-benefit factor. The Greens recently criticized that the renovation of motorways would tie up important personnel who would then be missing from work on rails and bridges. Environmental groups are also campaigning against faster motorway construction.
More climate protection in transport
The federal government has just met its climate goals in transport again, compared to the previous year the greenhouse gas emissions even increased. The Greens in particular, but also the SPD, are now putting pressure on Transport Minister Wissing. For many months he has owed an emergency program with sufficient measures that permanently reduced CO2 emissions in traffic. The FDP has so far categorically rejected proposals such as a general speed limit on German autobahns and the reduction of certain subsidies. Instead, she insists that combustion engines that use artificial fuels generated with green electricity may still be approved in the EU after 2035.
Financing basic child security
From 2025, basic child security is to bundle state benefits for families and children. It is still controversial in the coalition what should be included. Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) wants an increase because, in her opinion, the previous aid does not adequately combat child poverty. It has therefore announced a need of twelve billion euros. Finance Minister Lindner does not consider an increase to be imperative because the coalition has just raised child benefits. Above all, he wants to ensure that more families get the money they are entitled to. Currently, the bureaucracy is apparently preventing many from submitting an application.
And then there is the household
In view of the continuing major differences, it is unlikely that the coalition leaders will cut the knot in the dispute over the ministerial budgets for the coming year. However, it seems possible that an agreement will be reached on the cancellation of some state subsidies that are classified as harmful to the climate, thereby creating more leeway for other spending.
The focus is on several grants, low-interest loans or tax breaks - those that create incentives to do or buy something that harms the environment and climate. Examples are the energy tax breaks for diesel fuel and kerosene, the VAT exemption for international flights and the lower tax rate on agricultural diesel. In the coalition agreement, the Ampel parties had already planned to create additional budgetary leeway by reducing such subsidies - but nothing has happened so far.