The “traffic light” is struggling with a common response to the crises. Specifically, the SPD, Greens and FDP are currently arguing about seven points.

In view of the rising prices, the war in Ukraine and the ongoing corona pandemic, it is becoming increasingly difficult for the traffic light coalition to find a common line on the pressing issues. What the SPD, Greens and FDP are currently arguing about:

Federal Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) supports the plan of Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) to react to the high fuel prices despite the tank discount with stricter antitrust laws. But the SPD and the Greens are still considering using an excess profit tax to skim off the particularly high profits of the oil companies for a limited period of time. The FDP categorically rejects this.

The SPD and the Greens are calling for further relief packages. SPD faction leader Rolf Mützenich pleads for relief because of the increased food prices. Minister of Agriculture Cem Özdemir has raised the issue of abolishing VAT on fruit, vegetables and legumes.

However, the FDP is stepping on the brakes on the subject of relief. FDP leader Lindner complains that there is little financial and legal scope for further relief if savings are not made elsewhere. Rather, he is building on tax relief in the coming year.

Against the background of the relief demands, there are also differences among the traffic light parties about the financing of possible further measures. SPD leader Saskia Esken can imagine taking on more debt and at the weekend cast doubt on the plan to return to compliance with the debt brake next year. In May, the Green Federal Minister for Family Affairs, Lisa Paus, described compliance with the debt brake as a “daring prognosis”.

For weeks, representatives of the FDP and Greens have been vehemently demanding that Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also agree to the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine. In the meantime, about Gepard anti-aircraft tanks and the Panzerhaubitze 2000 have been promised – but it will still be weeks or months before delivery. FDP defense politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann demanded on Monday on the Welt television station, with a view to a possible trip from Scholz to Kyiv, that the chancellor also have to agree to Marder armored personnel carriers from the Bundeswehr.

With a view to a new corona wave expected for autumn, Federal Minister of Health Karl Lauterbach (SPD) considers a future regulation to be essential after the previous Infection Protection Act expires in September. Politicians must adapt to possible new, more dangerous virus variants. But he only wants to wait for an expert report planned for the end of June.

The Greens are also pushing for legal precautions, for example to be able to continue to issue masks in the future. They urge you to hurry. “We need an agreement as soon as possible,” says party leader Omid Nouripour. In contrast, the FDP is once again stepping on the brakes: the law, which expires on September 23, only allows a decision on a new regulation after the summer break.

Federal Labor Minister Hubertus Heil (SPD) has proposed a one-off payment for people with a gross income of less than 4,000 euros (8,000 for married couples) to structure the climate money agreed in principle in the coalition agreement, but raises concerns. FDP boss Lindner does not see this project as being in line with the coalition agreement. The Greens chairman Nouripour misses a control effect for climate protection in Heil’s concept.

The traffic light parties agree that the new citizens’ income should replace the previous Hartz IV system. But there are definitely differences in the design – for example with regard to the amount of future benefits. Federal Minister of Labor Hubertus Heil advocates an increase in standard rates of 40 to 50 euros – which would be an increase of around ten percent. He basically has the Greens on his side – but the FDP against him.

by Jürgen Petzold, AFP