One year SPD, Greens and FDP: The winner of the traffic light contract is ...

A year ago, the SPD, FDP and Greens gave the go-ahead for the traffic light government with the presentation of their coalition agreement.

One year SPD, Greens and FDP: The winner of the traffic light contract is ...

A year ago, the SPD, FDP and Greens gave the go-ahead for the traffic light government with the presentation of their coalition agreement. There was a lot of discussion about which party got the most out of it. It is now quite clear that one partner in particular has cleverly positioned itself in the alliance.

How quickly time flies in times of war and pandemic: It's been a year since the leaders of the SPD, Greens and FDP presented their coalition agreement in Berlin's Westhafen. It was weeks of intoxication for all three parties. Bleated but happy, the top negotiators stood in front of the press. They announced a new style, so very different from that of the grand coalition that had been replaced, and Olaf Scholz assured: As chancellor, he wanted to lead the three-party alliance in such a way that everyone involved would want to vote again four years later. Even then, the question arose: Which party got how much out of it for itself and its voters? Who can put their stamp on the new government and position themselves favorably for the coming elections? It is now clear that Bündnis90/DieGrünen have done what they consider to be an outstanding job.

In the days after the agreement, the public and internal assessment looked very different. That the Greens had to leave the key climate department of transport to the FDP, that in the future the thrifty Christian Lindner would determine the government’s financial leeway as Federal Finance Minister, that the Greens could not enforce a general speed limit and that they themselves had a profound personnel dispute over the ministerial posts At the end Anton Hofreiter got nothing (consolation: Chairman of the European Committee in the Bundestag): All of this gave the impression that the Greens - although they had won the most votes of all three parties in the Bundestag election - had been ripped off.

Twelve months later, there can no longer be any talk of that. Above all, the election of the ministries plays into the party's hands in what is only its third term in government at federal level: the Greens occupy the ministries that shine the most besides the chancellor's office, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology and the Foreign Office. Because these are formative ministries in which attention-grabbing key issues are negotiated, and because Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck single-handedly raise more profile than the entire SPD ministerial team combined. Craftsmanship should actually count for more in politics than the ability to communicate and present oneself. But without this competence, all politics is nothing. And the SPD in particular has to ask itself critical questions.

For St. Nicholas 2021, Olaf Scholz presented his crew of social democratic ministers like a national coach would present his gymnastics squad: everything was handpicked, everything was his choice, and so was his responsibility. The only post that was also filled according to criteria of publicity was that of Federal Minister of Health, in which the FDP and the Greens had shown no interest because of the foreseeable challenges. But while Karl Lauterbach remains committed to the topic of pandemic policy without filling in the social rifts that had emerged before the traffic light government, the key issue of hospital reform has not yet gone beyond the announcement. Lauterbach's star has plummeted, while Home Secretary Nancy Faeser and Defense Secretary Christine Lambrecht have barely gained prominence. Now the attack on Ukraine was not foreseeable, but if Lars Klingbeil had taken Lambrecht's place instead of becoming party leader, the SPD would probably have its own star in the cabinet. Someone who the voters also find sympathetic, and not just serious.

FDP boss and pioneer Christian Lindner might also shape the negotiations differently today. It is dialectically impossible for the Federal Minister of Finance to behave as a force of reason in a cabinet that is willing to spend and is dogmatic on energy issues without badmouthing the entire alliance. Lindner's oscillation between distance and commitment to the coalition primarily confirms those lost FDP voters who cannot understand why their liberals are helping the SPD and Greens on the left to a government majority at all. Lindner's previous responses to falling FDP survey values ​​were more and more withdrawal movements from the SPD and the Greens, which only accelerated the spiral.

The other FDP ministries are either notoriously under the radar of the public (Ministry of Justice), require long-winded hard work in order to only achieve visible success in years (Ministry of Transport and Digital) or both apply (Education and Science). Highlights of the FDP balance sheet so far are therefore the prevention of a general speed limit, which only a minority rejects, as well as sticking to the debt brake, the tricky circumnavigation of which with special funds and subsidiary budgets goes against the grain of FDP voters in particular.

Even though December 8th marks the anniversary of the swearing-in of the traffic light, none of the three parties is in an existential crisis. In the SPD in particular, there is great confidence that Scholz's popularity will grow when the war in Ukraine ends and the country comes through the acute energy crisis well. Chancellors who lead the country through choppy seas without being shipwrecked normally have a job guarantee in the Federal Republic.

The FDP and Greens could also benefit from a similar effect, with the Greens having an additional, separate benchmark for success: Climate Minister Habeck and climate foreign policymaker Baerbock want and must shape the climate policy of the traffic light in cooperation with Agriculture Minister Cem Özdemir and Environment Minister Steffi Lemke. The end of Russian energy sources is giving momentum to the energy transition, but the economic pressure to succeed is much greater than it was a year ago: without cheap energy, the country is threatened with de-industrialization. So the green negotiation success in the coalition agreement is both at the same time: opportunity and risk. exit open.

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