Top politicians from the SPD, Greens and FDP continue their interrupted crisis meeting in the Chancellery on Tuesday morning. In the coalition committee they are looking for compromises on various controversial issues. According to reports, the main focus is on more climate protection in the transport sector and faster construction of motorways.

The heads of the traffic light coalition started their talks on a number of controversial issues on Sunday evening, but interrupted them early Monday afternoon because Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and several ministers had to travel to the German-Dutch government consultations in Rotterdam. The CDU, CSU, AfD and Left viewed the interruption as a disgrace and a sign of poverty.

Scholz justified the postponement with the complexity of the tasks to be solved. It is about the modernization of Germany. “We want to make very clear, concrete statements that will enable us to achieve the necessary pace,” he said in Rotterdam. “The government’s common belief is that the legal rules that we have gradually screwed together over the past few decades do not match the speed that we need today.” He referred to the expansion of renewable energies, the power grid and the transport infrastructure.

Sharp criticism from the Union and the left

After arriving in the Dutch city, Scholz said that “very, very good progress had been made”. The talks so far have been very confidential and friendly. Scholz called the consultations in Rotterdam “a nice interim period that we are now having here with our friends in the Netherlands”.

CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja questioned the ability of the traffic light to govern in the “Tagesspiegel”. CSU regional group chief Alexander Dobrindt told the Bayern media group: “The traffic light for disputes is now also becoming the traffic light for strikes, because it borders on a refusal to work if there is not a single result after so many hours.” Left leader Janine Wissler described the traffic light alliance in an interview with the editorial network Germany as a “blockade coalition”.

Climate protection in transport as a major topic of conflict

SPD General Secretary Kevin Kühnert, on the other hand, emphasized in the “RTL Direkt” program: “It’s better to spend two days struggling to find solutions to important issues than having to govern for two years without solutions in these areas. We could do that in the country not to be expected. The two days are, I think, with a lot of turning a blind eye tolerable.”

The heads of the alliance wanted to work through a long list of points of contention in the chancellor’s office. Climate protection in transport was indicated as the biggest conflict issue – because the federal government must create a trend reversal here. According to the Federal Environment Agency, greenhouse gas emissions in this area have recently increased instead of decreasing as is actually necessary. The Greens in particular are demanding more effort from Transport Minister Volker Wissing. Its FDP not only strictly rejects a general speed limit on German autobahns and a reform of company car taxation.

The tone in the coalition had recently become rough on other issues as well:

Replacement of oil and gas heaters

The basic idea has actually long been agreed in the coalition: from 2024, if possible, only new heating systems that are operated with at least 65 percent renewable energy should be installed. In fact, this means the end of conventional oil and gas heating systems. Habeck poured that into a controversial bill. SPD and FDP both emphasize that homeowners and tenants should not be overwhelmed. In search of a compromise, the traffic light had already progressed before the summit meeting – without details leaking out so far.

Financing basic child security

From 2025, basic child security is to bundle state benefits for families and children. What is disputed is what should be included. Family Minister Lisa Paus (Greens) wants an increase because, in her opinion, the previous aid does not adequately combat child poverty. It has therefore announced a need of twelve billion euros. Lindner does not consider an increase to be imperative because the coalition has just raised child benefits.

Different attitudes towards spending money

Before the coalition committee, FDP politicians repeatedly called for financial discipline – especially with a view to the outstanding federal budget for 2024. “All coalition parties must recognize the current financial realities,” said Secretary General Bijan Djir-Sarai. However, the three parties did not have a common basic understanding on this issue.