German Greens blame lack of money and infighting for coalition’s mixed record

German Greens blame lack of money and infighting for coalition’s mixed record |

The legacy of Germany’s first-ever three-way coalition is jeopardised by continuous infighting, Green agriculture minister Cem Özdemir warned on Tuesday (27 February) as the Greens worry about the government’s performance and tight public finances.

The comments came as Green lawmakers started a three-day retreat in Leipzig to plot their strategy for the coming months amid a challenging situation for Germany, which includes adverse economic and geopolitical circumstances.

The public response to the government’s attempts to address the challenges has been devastating as the government parties SPD, Greens, and FDP have fallen in the polls.

As the Greens are mulling over their approach in Leipzig, Agriculture Minister Özdemir has issued a severe warning, criticising his own government for what he called a harmful culture of internal debate.

“The traffic light has for sure made mistakes,” Özdemir said at a public event in Düsseldorf on Tuesday. “We will manage to prevent our solid record from being recognised because we constantly argue like tinkers.”

A period of intense infighting over green legislation had put the government’s survival at risk last year.

However, while the three parties eventually reconciled, tensions have repeatedly flared up and slowed progress on several projects.

The major point of contention has been the appropriate level of government spending as the Greens consider more investment into the economy, the green transition, and defence to be key conditions to improve Germany’s situation.

“The aspiration of this coalition is (…) also to react to reality, and that is why justified debates are taking place how we can support the economy in a time in which we would have liked to see significantly more investment,” Katharina Dröge, the Greens’ lead MP, told reporters ahead of the retreat.

She admitted that the coalition partners’ views on increasing investment lay “far apart”.

Most recently, Robert Habeck, the Green vice chancellor, and FDP Finance Minister Christian Lindner went head-to-head over funding a planned tax reform for businesses, as Lindner does not want to take on new debt.

The Greens feel restrained by Lindner’s tight fiscal policy and the instrument of the debt brake, a constitutional clause that limits the budget deficit. The latter could only be adjusted if the FDP and the centre-right CDU, the largest opposition party, agreed to it. However, both have been opposed to making any changes.

Even more so, the CDU has used its blocking minority in Germany’s second parliamentary chamber, the Bundesrat, to delay a set of tax rebates.

Dröge noted that the coalition repeatedly invited CDU leader Friedrich Merz to collaborate on the legislation – to no avail.

Özdemir also appealed to the opposition to give up their blockade. “These are not just the problems of the traffic light, they are national problems,” he said, adding that it was time to put national interests before party interests.

(Nick Alipour |

Read more with Euractiv

German Greens blame lack of money and infighting for coalition’s mixed record |

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