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Climate Policy Threatens To Crash German Coalition Negotiations

Spiegel Online

Germany’s Green Party demands coal exit, Christian Democrats put on the brakes; CDU Prime Minister Laschet threatens to pull the plug on the negotiations.

Exploratory talks in Berlin over the possible first Jamaican coalition at federal level have so far been quite harmonious. Despite arguments between the Liberal Democrats (FDP) and the Greens over the abolition of the solidarity surcharge (established nearly 30 years ago to rebuild the public infrastructure of the former communist states in East Germany) – overall the discussions seem to be relaxed so far. This could change on Thursday when there are delicate topics on the agenda: refugees, climate and energy.

Even before the start of the talks negotiators voiced their warnings and demands. North Rhine-Westphalia’s Prime Minister Armin Laschet (Christian Democrats) who leads the CDU’s negotiation team on climate and energy threatened to pull the plug on the negotiations: “If Germany’s industrial base is compromised, we won’t form a coalition,” he told Rheinische Post. While climate protection was important, so was the protection of jobs as a moral goal.

“If coal plants are closed down in Eastern Germany and thousands of workers are made redundant, very soon 30% of voters will support the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD),” Laschet warned. The Green Party is demanding the immediate closure of 20 of the most polluting brown coal power plants and the end of coal-fired power generation altogether by 2030.

Green party leader Simone Peter reaffirmed her party’s position. The Greens have high expectations of the negotiations, she told Berliner Morgenpost. “It is a matter of making real climate policy once again and agreeing a concrete package of measures.”

Germany must achieve its 2020 climate targets and do everything possible to close the existing gap. “Without doubt, a mandatory coal exit and the accelerated expansion of renewable energies are part of this package,” Peter said.

Prime Minister Laschet announced that he would not make substantial concessions: “If push comes to shove we will have to crash the talks.” He said that environmental policy was a bigger hurdle for the negotiations than immigration policy: “The latter is easier to settle than the closure of power stations.”

Translation GWPF

Full story (in German)