German parties agree three-way coalition deal as Merkel era ends

Berlin, Nov 24 (EFE).- Germany’s Social Democrats, the Free Democratic Party and the Greens have reached an agreement to form a coalition government after more than a month of negotiations, the parties said Wednesday, bringing an end to the Angela Merkel era.

“The traffic light is shining. The SPD, FDP and the Greens have reached a joint coalition agreement,” SPD leader Olaf Scholz said, in reference to the three parties’ traditional colors red, yellow and green.

The deal still has to be approved by members of the three parties before a vote is held in parliament to approve Scholz as the next chancellor.

“We are fully determined to muster the necessary support in the coming days.”

Scholz said the new government would prioritize the fight against climate change by modernizing infrastructure and the economy.

“We want to be bold — climate protection, restructuring of our industry, modernization of the country, strengthening social cohesion.”

The coalition government said it would phase out coal by 2030 and transition to sourcing 80% of its power from renewable energy, as well as encourage the use of electric cars.

Among other policy goals, the government hopes to introduce a 12-euro minimum wage, changes to immigration rules that would allow dual citizenship, build hundreds of thousands of homes to ease an acute housing crisis, implement the regulated sale of cannabis and lower the voting age to 16.

Scholz began the press conference by providing updates to restrictions in place to curb rising coronavirus infections, namely the application of 2G (vaccinated or recovered) and 2G+ (vaccinated or recovered plus a recent negative test) rules to access public spaces.

“The new federal government will do everything to bring the country safely through this difficult time,” he said.

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