Germany’s SPD, FDP and Greens unveil governing coalition agreement

New Delhi: Three parties planning to form a government in Germany announced at a news conference in Berlin on Wednesday that they had finalized a deal on a governing coalition.

The deal comes after 21 representatives from three parties – centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), environmentalist Greens and business-focused Free Democrats (FDP) – met for closing talks earlier in the day.

Social Democrat (SPD) Olaf Scholz, who is expected to take over as chancellor, said the three parties reached an agreement to form a new government that would end the Merkel era. The talks were held in a “friendly but intense, trust-filled atmosphere,” Scholz said.

Green Party co-leader Robert Hebeck said that reconciling “welfare with climate protection” would be the cornerstone of the new government’s policies.

FDP leader Christian Lindner said “we take responsibility for the country in a dire situation” and that Germany “has the will and desire for change”.

“It is our resolve to modernize this country together,” he said.

Scholz said fighting the coronavirus pandemic will be a priority for the new government, and he plans to set up a coronavirus crisis team at the chancellor to coordinate health policy between federal and regional governments.

Scholz also mentioned that the government would consider implementing mandatory COVID-19 vaccination for select groups.

“Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic. We should make vaccination mandatory in institutions that care for vulnerable groups,” Scholz said.