Chancellor Angela Merkel won a fourth term in office in a German national election on Sept. 24, but a fractured vote that brings the far-right into parliament means she is trying to work out a three-way coalition untested at federal level.
The new alliance would compromise Merkel’s conservative bloc – her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) – along with the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and environmentalist Greens.
Such a three-way tie-up is dubbed a “Jamaica” coalition in reference to the three parties’ colours: black, yellow and green, which match those of the Jamaican flag.
To secure a coalition agreement, the unlikely allies must overcome differences on a range of issues including immigration policy, Europe, tax and the environment.
Following are coalition-related remarks from senior officials:
PROSPECTS FOR A JAMAICA COALITION
WOLFGANG SCHAEUBLE (CDU)
“I advise calm. A way will be found.”
JOACHIM HERRMANN (CSU)
“With goodwill on all sides, it is possible. But it is not easy.”
ALEXANDER DOBRINDT (CSU)
“I consider such an alliance to be very difficult. In any case, we will enter seriously into talks with the Greens and FDP. Whether this can be successful is strongly dependent on the flexibility of the Greens.”
CEM OZDEMIR (GREENS)
“We will conduct these discussions responsibly.”
IMMIGRATION CHRISTIAN LINDNER (FDP)
“The number of refugees coming to us has to be reduced.”
VOLKER KAUDER (CDU)
On disagreement between Merkel’s CDU and Bavarian CSU over a cap on migrants: “I am sure we will come to a common position.”
On an Oct. 8 meeting between the CDU and CSU to discuss a common position before any exploratory talks with FDP or Greens: “I don’t expect clarity to be achieved in one meeting. It is not about where to put a comma, this is about fundamentals.” He described the CSU’s demand for a cap on refugees as “non-negotiable”.
NICOLA BEER (FDP)
“We are against a rigid upper limit on the admission of asylum seekers. But we must talk about a limit to the integration capacity of our country.”
“There can be no upper limit.” EUROPE
“We should not focus on red lines, but rather on common horizons.” “(French President Emmanuel) Macron is a godsend. More cooperation in crime fighting, the military, asylum, energy and digital is within reach.” In separate comments: “We need there to be a way to leave the euro without having to leave the European Union.”
FINANCE MINISTRY POST/TAX POLICY
Conservative Wolfgang Schaeuble has agreed to relinquish the post of finance minister to become president of parliament, clearing the way for another party to take the key ministry.
“It would be fine to have a Green finance minister who cuts the tax burden on the middle classes.” In separate comments: “The uptake of new debts must still be ruled out. “(Tax) relief and investments must be made possible in another way.”
WOLFGANG KUBICKI (FDP)
“In case the FDP becomes part of the government, a new fiscal policy will be of central importance.”