FDP to speed reform pace to combat falling opinion polls

FDP to speed reform pace to combat falling opinion polls
FDP leaders leave their crisis meeting on Sunday evening. Photo: DPA
Chancellor Angela Merkel's junior coalition partners, the pro-business Free Democrats, have agreed to quicken the pace of their promised reforms in reaction to the party's rapidly falling public approval ratings.

After meetings at their Berlin headquarters on Sunday evening, FDP General Secretary Christian Lindner said “we want to solidify the intentions of the coalition faster than previously planned.”

Party leaders had “established great unity” on the matter, Lindner added, explaining that their direction would remain the same, only with an accelerated tempo.

The new partners to Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats plan to apply the speedier reform pace to energy policy in particular.

According to Lindner, the most recent statements by Environment Minister and Christian Democrat Norbert Röttgen were unclear on when Germany would end the use of its nuclear energy plants. The FDP is hoping for a package that includes both renewable energy and a slower shutdown of atomic energy plants.

“It makes no sense to shut down our secure nuclear energy plants more quickly than previously decided,” Lindner said.

Instead the FDP hopes to use extended operating schedules to make the changeover more affordable for consumers, he said.

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