Traffic light or Jamaica? One of the two alliances will probably rule in the future. Before doing this, however, differences still have to be overcome. However, there are potential tradeoffs.
Berlin – “We should talk to each other first and see where there could be common ground.” This sentence comes from FDP leader Christian Lindner. A few hours after the first projections for the federal election, Lindner had addressed his word to the Greens. They followed suit much later and also indicated that they were ready to talk quickly. And so those parties that recorded strong gains in this Bundestag election first sounded out among themselves.
Possibly not a bad idea when you consider that both parties are likely to be involved in the next government – and on top of that, they have to get some differences out of the way. In their election manifestos, the Greens and the FDP differ fundamentally in some cases. Above all in climate and economic policy, the hobbyhorses of both parties, there are considerable differences. But now it’s about finding common ground, emphasize the respective party leaders. What could the eco-party and liberals agree on in the exploratory talks that have now begun? What is the position of the SPD and the Union on disputed points? An overview.
Bundestag election: digitization, freedom rights, education policy – where the FDP and the Greens are close together
In addition to the differences, there are also some points in which the FDP and the Greens will quickly come to a common denominator. Both parties want to advance digitization in the country. The FDP even put this topic at the top of the agenda in the election campaign – and apparently scored points with the young voters. In addition, the Greens and the FDP are striving to relax drug policy. Both (still) opposition parties are in favor of a controlled legalization of cannabis. The SPD does the same, while the Union is skeptical about it. In the case of a Jamaica coalition, the CDU / CSU could compromise on this point. The drug commissioner and CSU politician Daniela Ludwig recommended the Union to take a more liberal course before the federal election.
In terms of foreign policy and civil rights, the Greens and the FDP are not far apart. Both parties recently took a unified position on the subject of civil liberties, surveillance and police violence – and their statements contradicted those of the Union, in some cases resolutely. The SPD positioned itself similarly to the FDP and the Greens, which is why a traffic light offers fewer disruptive factors than Jamaica with the conservative Union.
There is also agreement on the subject of education policy, which the FDP and the Greens want to focus more on. Both parties are pulling in the same direction when it comes to electoral law: in the last legislative period they advocated a new version to prevent the Bundestag from inflating further. Problem: The Union in particular resisted this restructuring. But what about points where the Greens and FDP differ. It probably takes compromises.
Bundestag election: Minimum wage controversial issue – one-off intervention as a compromise?
During the election campaign, the Greens repeatedly advertised with the promise to raise the minimum wage. According to party leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, it should be twelve euros an hour. With this goal they hit the nerve of the SPD. The Social Democrats also advocated a minimum wage of twelve euros. The FDP and the Union reject this. Who has how much negotiating power – FDP or Greens – depends largely on the third coalition partner.
According to Sebastian Dullien, Scientific Director of the Institute for Macroeconomics and Business Cycle Research at the Hans Böckler Foundation, compromises are always conceivable: “For example, the parties could agree on a one-off intervention and then go back to the tried and tested procedure,” said Dullien the world. The level of adjustment will be part of the coalition negotiations.
Pension policy: the “Swedish model” as an example – FDP and Greens closer together than you might think
The FDP spoke out in favor of a statutory share pension before the general election. The Greens spoke of a “guaranteed pension”. What sounds different at first is not that far apart in practice. Even at the retirement age of 67, both parties are in agreement. But it should be flexible, according to the FDP, entry should be possible from the age of 60. A point that sounds negotiable.
On the subject of pensions, the FDP already approached the partners of a possible traffic light coalition during the election campaign – albeit only indirectly. The election manifesto reads: “We Free Democrats want to make the retirement age more flexible based on the Swedish model.” That means: those who retire earlier receive a lower pension, those who retire later receive a higher pension. Sweden is governed by an alliance of Social Democrats and Greens.
The Greens do not speak directly of the “Swedish model”, but they are not that far removed from it. The principle behind it looks like this: every employee invests part of his wages in a state fund. This fund in turn invests the money in the financial market, in other words in stocks or bonds, what the FDP calls stock rents. A large state fund, which the Greens describe as a “citizen fund”, should then generate better returns than individual private savers. Here, the FDP and the Greens are in a sense giving a line that is closer to the SPD’s pension plans instead of those of the Union.
Climate protection: does the CO2 tax split? Climate premium and weakened bans as a compromise?
The Greens see a CO2 tax as a means for climate protection. Meanwhile, the FDP and CDU / CSU reject any tax increases, but the SPD will certainly not support the planned CO2 tax without comment. It is conceivable, for example, that the Social Democrats will work to ensure that households with low incomes are not burdened too much. Another conceivable compromise is the so-called climate premium. Then the income would be returned to the citizens. There are similar considerations with the deletion of the green electricity allowance. The election manifesto of the Greens states: “We will give the income from the national CO2 price back to the people as per capita energy money.
The FDP rejects tax increases as a matter of principle, but could support the compensation if far-reaching bans are dispensed with instead. In the case of a traffic light coalition, the FDP will find it difficult to assert itself against the increasingly likely general speed limit on German motorways, because, in contrast to the Union, the SPD also demands this. When it comes to the internal combustion engine, however, there may be room for compromise. One possible solution would be to stretch the deadlines for the end of diesel. the image also reports of another compromise proposal: If the Greens were to forego tax increases, the FDP could imagine accelerated tax write-offs for climate investments.
Tax policy: FDP forced to compromise at a traffic light – compensation via ministerial office?
Property and inheritance taxes also play a key role in tax policy. The SPD and the Greens want to ask higher earners to pay more, the FDP and the Union are largely against tax increases. A kind of middle ground in the form of smaller reliefs is conceivable. The wealth tax, which is important to the FDP, could remain untouched and instead the inheritance tax could be carefully adjusted. Another point of contention is the debt brake. The FDP has made a clear commitment to the debt brake, the Greens want to reform it. Who will prevail in the end?
When it comes to economic issues, the Free Democrats are clearly leaning towards the Union. Because the negotiating position would be massively difficult for the FDP in a traffic light. SPD party leader Norbert Walter-Borjans said after the election of the Liberals’ economic program: “If you look at the FDP program, you have to say: It doesn’t have to be corrected by coalition partners, it would correct itself.” The SPD is itself nevertheless aware that compromises would also have to be made. The FDP could be put off with the office of finance minister, for example. Party leader Christian Lindner is already looking at the ministerial office, for which Robert Habeck is also traded. But the Greens co-boss has apparently already explored an alternative.
Federal election: traffic light or Jamaica? “Hard decisions” and compromises
Tax policy is fundamentally very important to the FDP. But the liberals are in a position to learn from others and to make compromises, stressed Lindner even before the general election. He referred to the very different coalitions in which the FDP is involved in the federal states: an alliance with the CDU and the Greens in Schleswig-Holstein, with the CDU in North Rhine-Westphalia, with the SPD and the Greens in Rhineland-Palatinate and with the CDU and SPD in Saxony-Anhalt.
At the same time, Lindner warned that the FDP is also able to make “tough decisions” if its basic convictions are in question or if potential allies are unwilling to enter into a “fair partnership”. The FDP could therefore remain tough in tax policy. In return, however, be more willing to compromise in other areas. It is now time to explore what these are. (as)