Exploratory talks are currently underway between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. Will the sometimes different ideas of the three parties become a problem?

Berlin – The exploratory talks about the next federal government between the SPD, the Greens and the FDP have recently been quite harmonious to the outside world. Nevertheless, there would be “a lot of conflicts” in terms of content, as the Greens co-boss Robert Habeck is now Deutschlandfunk explained. “That is why the trusting atmosphere and the effort to shape a different style in terms of form should not hide the fact that it is far from over and that the differences between the parties are sometimes considerable,” said Habeck.

These substantive differences “still have to be resolved – that is, there were a lot of points that were fought over, argued and some of which were not resolved”. Some of these differences arise from the different financial plans of the three parties.

Explorations: FDP draws red line – “we are sticking to it”

How do the parties deal with the billion hole that was torn in the German budget by the coronavirus pandemic? The SPD and the Greens want to ask higher earners to pay more so that money is there for those who have little. Both parties are in favor of a wealth tax. Your policy should also be financed through interim debts. The Greens are in favor of loosening the debt brake in order to enable massive investments in climate protection and infrastructure. Plans that are a thorn in the side of the FDP. For the Free Democrats, tax increases and redistribution are red lines.

Economic and financial policy is of course the hobbyhorse of the FDP. The Liberals are also the least willing to compromise in this area. “Everyone we talked to knows our demands: no tax increases and no loosening of the debt brake,” said FDP General Secretary Volker Wissing to the Picture on sunday. “We’re holding on to that. Debt does not create a future. ”That means: no additional income through higher taxes (regardless of who) and no additional expenditure through new debts.

Finances: “If you look at the FDP program …”

Even before the election campaign, the FDP warned that the state would gamble away the future with its spending policy. “Every sensible person knows that a crisis does not mean that a government can spend money as if there were no tomorrow,” said FDP chief steward Otto Fricke in December 2020. FDP chief Christian Lindner criticized in a statement by the party that the Federal government “takes on significantly more debt than it should”.

There is, however, some criticism of the FDP’s financial plans. It is said that it is not clear how the current debts will be paid off. SPD party leader Norbert Walter-Borjans said after the general election about the liberals’ economic program: “If you look at the FDP program, you have to say: It doesn’t have to be corrected by coalition partners, it would correct itself.” The SPD is itself nevertheless aware that compromises would also have to be made – also far removed from programmatic points?

Traffic light coalition? “The FDP still has to swallow a lot of toads and runs the risk of choking on them”

The FDP could be put off with the office of finance minister, for example. Party leader Christian Lindner is already looking at the ministerial office, for which Robert Habeck is also traded. But the Greens co-boss has apparently already explored an alternative. Anyone who becomes finance minister and thus the successor to the presumably next Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) has the thankless task of tackling politics with corona debts. The Union also knows that, and will probably find itself in the opposition after the federal elections and the unrest within the party.

CDU politicians recently emphasized what they consider to be the major differences in content between the exploring parties. “I believe that the FDP still has to swallow a lot of toads and runs the risk of choking on it,” said CDU board member Henning Otte. The FDP would have a hard time in a traffic light coalition “because the SPD and the Greens are ideologically closer to one another”. And not just when it comes to taxes and finances. There is a potential for conflict lurking elsewhere as well: An overview of where the traffic light explorations could fail.