Germany’s new ruling parties signed their deal for what they present as a progressive coalition, a day before Olaf Scholz succeeded longtime leader Angela Merkel as chancellor.
BERLIN – Germany’s new ruling parties on Tuesday signed their deal for what they tout as a progressive coalition, a day before Olaf Scholz succeeds longtime leader Angela Merkel as chancellor.
The deal reached last month between Scholz’s center-left Social Democrats, Green environmentalists and pro-business Free Democrats has received strong support in recent days from members of all three parties. This allowed Scholz to be elected to parliament on Wednesday, where the coalition – which has never yet been tried in a national government – has a solid majority.
The 177-page coalition agreement is titled “Venture More Progress” – a theme that leaders of the incoming government hammered out during a signing ceremony at the Futurium Museum in Berlin.
Efforts to tackle climate change are a top priority for the new government, especially the Greens. Other priorities include the modernization of Europe’s largest economy and the introduction of more liberal social policies. Most importantly, the government faces the immediate task of bringing down near-record coronavirus infection rates.
“We have said that we want to venture further into progress, and from this week we want to work on progress,” said Christian Lindner, the new finance minister and leader of the Free Democrats. “We are not deluding ourselves, we are facing great challenges. “
The deal between three parties that had significant differences before the German elections in September was reached relatively quickly and, at least in public, in unexpected harmony.
“If the good cooperation that worked while we were in government continues to work, it will be a very, very good time for the tasks ahead,” said Scholz. He acknowledged that dealing with the pandemic “will require all of our strength and energy”.
Merkel, who was chancellor for 16 years, did not run for a fifth term. His center-right Union bloc entered the opposition after its electoral defeat.
Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s transition to a new government at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election.