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Greens and FDP meet for preliminary two-way talks

September 29, 2021

The Greens and the Free Democrats have held a first meeting on the long road to forming a new German coalition government. Both the SPD and the CDU/CSU hope to secure the support of the two kingmakers.

FDP party chairman Volker Wissing, Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock, FDP chief Christian Lindner and Greens co-leader Robert Habeck
The quartet posed for an Instagram selfie after talks on Tuesday Image: Instagram/@volkerwissing/via Reuters

The leaders of Germany's Green Party and the Free Democrats (FDP) met Tuesday for two-way negotiations seeking common ground before future coalition talks.

After the meeting, FDP leader Christian Lindner posted a photo on Instagram of himself and General Secretary Volker Wissing, alongside the Greens' co-leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck.

The caption read: "In the search for a new government, we are seeking out common ground and bridges over our divisions. And we are even finding some of those things. Exciting times." 

More details on what had been discussed were not provided.

Courting the kingmakers

The environmentalist Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) emerged from the federal elections as kingmakers in a possible three-way coalition with either the Social Democrats (SPD) or the CDU/CSU conservative bloc. Both the major parties intend to court the support of the two smaller groups. 

The Greens and FDP have diverging political agendas on addressing issues such as climate change and economic policy, but do come together in areas such as progressive social policy. 

Lindner suggested during a TV roundtable after the election results on Sunday that it might make sense for the two parties to first meet together, before engaging with either the SPD or the CDU/CSU, to seek common ground among each other. 

After 2017's elections, a CDU/CSU bid to set up a three-way alliance with the Greens and the FDP collapsed when the FDP walked out, complaining that they were the third wheel. Germany ended up with another grand coalition between the two main parties instead. 

Laschet and Scholz wait in wings

Christian Democrat (CDU) leader Armin Laschet said on Tuesday that he planned to hold talks with the Greens and FDP about forming a coalition "in the next few days."

Meanwhile, senior SPD lawmaker Rolf Mützenich said on Tuesday that the Social Democrats had already invited the two parties for talks this week, and were ready for "fast, genuine" discussions."

SPD chancellor candidate Olaf Scholz said a potential SPD-led coalition could be a "government where three parties come together that have different but overlapping ideas of progress."

wmr/msh (dpa, AFP, Reuters)