The ongoing row between members of Germany’s three-party coalition reached new heights on Wednesday (24 May), with the ruling Greens warning trust within the government is now severely damaged.
Government infighting escalated Wednesday when the liberal FDP opposed the Green-led Economy Ministry’s flagship legislation that sets minimum renewable targets for new heating systems, which was entering parliament for discussion.
“I want to say very clearly at this point that the FDP is acting like an opposition party in government,” the Green’s chief whip Irene Mihalic said on Wednesday, adding that the “government’s capacity for action” was severely compromised.
The day before, Economy Minister Robert Habeck criticised his coalition partner, saying the FDP’s move showed that it does not keep its promises.
“If trust within the government is compromised and it is unable to act and implement projects as planned, we would have to call this a government crisis,” political scientist Uwe Jun told EURACTIV. “We’re not there yet,” he added.
“The government needs to demonstrate publicly now that there is a will to go on,” he said, acknowledging that mutual trust is now “severely damaged”.
The situation is further complicated by a corruption scandal plaguing the Economy Ministry. Secretary of State Patrick Graichen, a close ally of Habeck’s, was sacked last week over allegations that he employed friends and relatives in key positions.
Another point of contention is the 2024 budget, as Finance Minister Christian Lindner of the liberal FDP reportedly plans surprise cuts to account for funding gaps.
The parliamentary debate about the state of the legislation on Wednesday reinforced the impression of divides within the government as the coalition partners took thinly veiled potshots.
“An agreement in politics, among human beings, should be worth something … Let’s resolve this blockade now,” pleaded Green MP Andreas Audretsch.
“It’s clear that the legislation, as previously set out by the government, won’t go through parliament,” his FDP colleague Lukas Köhler maintained.
Meanwhile, the opposition relished in the evident disagreement.
“Stress, navel-gazing, chaos, blockade, on a path towards ungovernability – that’s the state of this coalition,” said Jens Spahn, one of the leading MPs for the conservative CDU.
(Nick Alipour | EURACTIV.de)
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