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POLITICS

What we know so far about the proposed new coalition deal

The German Press Agency (DPA) has seen inside the 28-page paper that is the result of five days of talks between the Christian Union and the Social Democrats on forming a new government. Here are the key points.

What we know so far about the proposed new coalition deal
Photo: DPA

Refugees

The parties have agreed that there should be an upper limit on refugee arrivals that lies between 180,000 and 220,000 per year.

They have also reached agreement on family reunions for refugees with “subsidiary protection”. These people will continue to have no right to bring their families to Germany until a new law is created – this new law will limit the family members arriving in Germany to 1,000 per month.

READ ALSO: Christian Union and Social Democrats reach breakthrough in coalition talks

East Germany

The parties have agreed to lower the “solidarity tax” – a tax on all German workers which goes exclusively to east Germany – should be lowered in stages by €10 billion by the year 2021.

Social welfare

The parties have agreed in principal to several improvements to the social welfare system. The negotiating paper states that the coalition would “stabilize the level of pensions”. The paper states that the pension level should be legally set at 48 percent of income until the year 2025.

At the same time the paper commits the coalition to creating free child daycare centres, as well as increasing overall Kindergarten financing and increasing the level of parental allowance.

Europe

German Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats vowed in a coalition blueprint Friday that, if they form a government, they would work to strengthen the eurozone.

“We want to… in close partnership with France, sustainably strengthen and reform the eurozone so that the euro can better withstand global crises,” Germany's biggest parties said in a draft policy agreement.

Taxes

The SPD had fought for an increase in the top level of tax, but the paper does not make mention of this. According to members of Merkel’s negotiating team, the paper rules out any tax increases over the next four years.

POLITICS

How Germany is reacting to far-right election victory in Italy

While far-right groups have been celebrating, other politicians in Germany see the results as worrying. Here's a look at the reaction.

How Germany is reacting to far-right election victory in Italy

According to initial projections following Italy’s election on Sunday, the coalition led by Georgia Meloni and her radical right-wing Fratelli d’Italia party has won a majority of seats in the two chambers of the Italian parliament and will lead the next government. 

Meloni is a euro-sceptic who has previously spoken about having an “aversion” to Germany and referred to German Chancellor Olaf Scholz as “socialist” while on the campaign trail.

However, Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s deputy spokesman Wolfgang Buechner told reporters on Monday: “We of course have to wait for the official final result from this election but at this time what the chancellor would say is that Italy is a very Europe-friendly country with very Europe-friendly citizens and we assume that won’t change.” 

READ ALSO: What will a far-right government mean for Italy?

A Finance Ministry spokesperson added that Berlin expected the new Italian government to continue to respect the stability pact that sets the fiscal rules for the eurozone.

Despite these reassurances from the central government, German politicians in the EU parliament have expressed concern about the new direction for Italy.  

Rasmus Andresen, spokesman for the German Greens in the EU Parliament, said the “unprecedented Italian slide to the right” will have massive repercussions for Europe and for the European Union.

“Italy, as a founding member and the third strongest economy in the EU, is heading for an anti-democratic and anti-European government.”

Though Meloni no longer wants Italy to leave the eurozone, she has said that Rome must assert its interests more and has policies that look set to challenge Brussels on everything from public spending rules to mass migration.

The Greens’ co-leader in Brussels, Thomas Waitz, told Die Welt that the EU can only function if it sticks together, for example on cooperation in energy markets, decisions on Russian sanctions or dealing with the Covid crisis. “Meloni, on the other hand, would back national go-it-alones. It can be a disaster for Europe,”  he said. 

READ ALSO: Euro falls to 20-year low against US dollar

The FDP’s expert on Europe, Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, takes a similar view. He said on ARD’s Morgenmagazin that cooperation with Italy in the European Union will become more difficult. He said that it will now be much more difficult to achieve unity in Europe, especially on the issues of migration, reform of the Stability and Growth Pact and the single market.

Speaking on RTL, Green Party leader Omid Nouripour called the election results in Italy “worrying” and pointed out that people within the Italian right-wing nationalist alliance have “very close entanglements with the Kremlin”.

“We can’t rule out the possibility that people in Moscow also popped the corks last night,” he said.

Germany’s own far-right party – Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) – has been celebrating the victory. 

AfD member of the Bundestag Beatrix von Storch wrote “We cheer with Italy!” on Twitter late Sunday evening.

Referring to the recent elections in Sweden, where the right was also successful, von Storch wrote: “Sweden in the north, Italy in the south: left-wing governments are so yesterday.”

Her party colleague Malte Kaufmann tweeted, “A good day for Italy – a good day for Europe.”

With reporting from AFP

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