It crunches in the traffic light coalition. When it comes to important issues and projects, the signs are currently more red or yellow than green. This is visible in the central field of budgetary and financial policy, but also in social and transport policy. The repeat election in Berlin a week ago was a false start to 2023, especially for the SPD and FDP, with important state elections in autumn in Bavaria and Hesse. The FDP was thrown out of a state parliament again when the Union won the election, the SPD lost votes, and the Greens had hoped for more. In just under two weeks, the coalition has the opportunity to pull itself together at a cabinet retreat at Meseberg Castle.
In the course of preparing the 2024 federal budget, Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) clashed violently. The core question is whether and how more income can be generated and which projects should have priority. The departments have additional requests worth billions.
FDP faction leader Christian Dürr generally accused the Greens of blocking joint projects. The debt brake, the waiver of tax increases and the acceleration of planning were clearly agreed in the coalition agreement, he told the "Bild am Sonntag". The Greens worry that there will not be enough funds left for their projects. Green parliamentary group leader Britta Haßelmann told the newspaper that the social and climate policy projects of the coalition agreement are more important than ever in view of the energy crisis and rising prices.
The Federation of German Industries warned of further burdens. "The German state has no income problem," said BDI President Siegfried Russwurm of the German Press Agency. The tax rate is at its highest level in decades. "New tax burdens or even tax increases are poison for the economy." Among other things, Habeck had suggested advising on how revenue could be improved.
A million people from Ukraine and increasing numbers of asylum seekers - many municipalities see themselves under pressure. There is also a controversial debate after the riot on New Year's Eve in Berlin. The Greens were outraged by statements by CDU politicians.
A group of so-called real politicians in the Greens is now calling for a new course in migration policy. A shift to the right is also to be feared in Germany if citizens continue to lose their sense of security, according to a manifesto by the Vert Realos group. "Vert" means "green" in French.
"There is no clear integration concept," it says. "The migrants don't know what is expected of them and set off on the long journey with false hopes." Hardly any distinction is made between war, asylum and economic migrants.
FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai welcomed the demands. He told the dpa: "We urgently need a migration and integration policy in Germany that is in line with reality, is in the interest of our country and does not ignore the concerns of the citizens."
One of the central socio-political projects of the coalition is basic child security. According to the coalition agreement, the goal is to strengthen families and get more children out of poverty. From 2025 onwards, various services, from child benefit and child allowance to financial support for school trips and leisure time, are to be bundled together.
On the one hand, the financing seems to be unclear. On the other hand, FDP General Secretary Djir-Sarai pointed out in the "Rheinische Post" that the basic child security is primarily a reform of the social administration. The jungle of bureaucracy and benefits for those entitled to benefits must be cleared so that the money can arrive at all. However, there are still no clear answers to these administrative questions; the Ministry for Family Affairs has to deliver here.
Katja Mast, First Parliamentary Manager of the SPD parliamentary group, told the dpa on Sunday: "No child should grow up in poverty. This is a major goal that requires very decisive political action. Basic child security is the right instrument for this. With the strongest Increasing child benefit We have already taken an important step for decades. More must follow." Of course, basic child security must be reflected in the household at the right time.
There is a constant dispute as to whether not only wind turbines should be erected more quickly and bridges repaired more quickly - but also motorways should be built more quickly. The FDP is demanding this and, according to the forecast, points to a strong long-term increase in freight traffic on the road. The Greens reject faster construction of freeways. It's about the nitty gritty. The Greens want more effort in transport so that climate targets can be met.
FDP boss Lindner emphasized the lesson from the Berlin election for the coalition: "A policy against the car is obviously not in the interest of the people." This was also aimed at the controversial measure taken by the Green Senator and top candidate Bettina Jarasch to permanently block part of Friedrichstrasse in Berlin-Mitte from car traffic.