By Benjamin Wehrmann
In a joint statement shared on public broadcaster ARD by the Social Democrats (SPD), the Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP), party representatives stopped short of announcing an exact target date and did not share information on the remaining disputes.
However, they stressed that the talks were going in the right direction. Michael Kellner, executive secretary of the Green Party, said the negotiations would be held in a “very good, very constructive and very thorough atmosphere.”
Before Kellner’s statement on Tuesday (16 November), the Greens had warned that disputes, particularly in climate policy, continued to be significant and could potentially derail the agreed schedule.
The FDP’s secretary general, Volker Wissing, said the parties would aim to fill the coalition treaty with “concrete agreements” rather than non-binding intentions. “That’s why we need time,“ Wissing said, adding he has “a good feeling” that a treaty could be agreed next week.
SPD secretary general Lars Klingbeil said the talks among party leaders would now continue “open-ended” on Tuesday and also on Wednesday and Friday to ensure that the ground is prepared for an agreement before the end of the month. “We will make this happen,” Klingbeil added.
SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz said on Monday at an event by Süddeutsche Zeitung that the talks would be “very, very target-oriented” and that the negotiators had managed to resolve several contentious issues among them.
Germany’s coalition negotiations entered a new round this week, as the remaining differences from previous discussions in 22 working groups are to be ironed out in negotiations involving party heads.
The prospective “traffic light coalition” partners, dubbed after the parties’ respective colours, want to conclude discussions by the end of this month, so acting finance minister Scholz can take over from Angela Merkel (CDU) as the new chancellor and a new government can be sworn in during the week starting on 6 December.
Having a functioning government in place as soon as possible in the biggest EU country is also of great importance to Germany’s fellow EU states, as negotiations over the bloc’s Fit for 55 package, the European Commission’s classification of the sustainability of nuclear and gas in the bloc’s finance rules, and the French Council presidency are coming up.