What to expect from the incoming German government

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The center-left-led alliance that will lead Germany from Wednesday has declared ambitions to make Europe’s largest economy greener and fairer.

In their coalition agreement, the Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal FDP addressed issues ranging from climate protection to foreign policy to cannabis.These are the main points of your roadmap for Germany:

No new debt

Germany’s no new debt rule was suspended in the coronavirus pandemic, allowing the government to borrow billions to finance its way out of the crisis.

But the country’s next government, known as a “stoplight” coalition because of the parties’ red, green and yellow colors, plans a return to the rule that is anchored in the German constitution.

In their deal, they pledged to reinstate the so-called debt brake by 2023.Maintaining the debt brake was an obligation for the FDP, and Social Democratic Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, who will be Germany’s next chancellor, has also long been a proponent of the rule.

The parties also agreed not to raise taxes during his tenure, according to a tweet from FDP leader Christian Lindner, a victory for his party that has refused to increase the tax burden on taxpayers.

Minimum wage, housing, vote at 16 In return, the Social Democrats secured their electoral promise to raise the minimum wage to 12 euros ($ 14) from the current 9.60 euros.

To keep housing affordable, the coalition agreed to build 400,000 new homes a year, including 100,000 with public funds. A cap will be introduced on rent increases, limiting any increase to a maximum of 11 percent in three years.

The tripartite combo also agreed to lower the voting age to 16, something that is likely to favor the Greens and the FDP, who have younger supporters than Angela Merkel’s conservatives, who are largely backed by Germany’s retiree army.

Climate

The Greens’ main victory came in the form of an accelerated exit from coal power, which will be brought forward by eight years to 2030.

The parties also agreed to “further develop” the country’s current climate protection law in 2022, and to “implement all necessary laws, regulations and measures” on this front.

Sustainable energy expansion will be “dramatically accelerated and all hurdles and obstacles removed,” with the goal of ensuring that sustainable energy constitutes 80 percent of the country’s mix by 2030.

With their sights set on Germany’s mighty auto industry, the parties agreed to put 15 million pure electric cars on the roads by 2030, up from just over 500,000 today.

Combustion engine vehicles will no longer receive approval starting in 2035.

Sovereign europe

The parties say emphatically that they “want to increase Europe’s strategic sovereignty”, which is likely to please the second-largest power on the continent, France, which has made this a priority of its EU presidency starting in 2022.

But the transatlantic relationship will remain a “central pillar” for Germany, and NATO is an “indispensable element” for the country’s security, the text says.

And potentially irritating to Poland or Hungary, the parties want “an EU that protects its values ​​and the rule of law internally and externally.”

Introducing the coalition agreement, Annalena Baerbock, the Greens’ co-director who will take on the role of foreign minister, vowed to put human rights back at the center of German diplomacy and advocated for greater assertiveness towards Russia and China.

Legalize cannabis

The recreational use of cannabis will be legalized under the new government, making Germany one of the few countries in the world to do so.

“We will introduce controlled distribution to adults for consumption purposes in licensed stores,” the parties say in the document.

This will control quality, prevent the circulation of contaminated substances and guarantee the protection of minors ”.

Migration

The coalition also aims to liberalize immigration and citizenship rules, measures Merkel’s conservatives long resisted.

Immigrants who are currently simply “tolerated” in Germany (allowed to stay but not entitled to work) would be given a procedure to obtain formal residence permits.

Furthermore, the right to dual citizenship would be expanded and foreign citizens would have a faster path to becoming German, in the case of “particular achievements in integration” in just three years of residence.

Abortion

The parties have pledged to abolish paragraph 219a, a controversial piece of Nazi-era law that outlaws “advertising” for abortion services.

“Doctors should be able to provide public information about abortions without fear of prosecution,” they say in the document.

(AFP)