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Greens propose three-way talks with SPD, FDP

October 6, 2021

Germany's Greens say they hope to enter into three-way exploratory talks with the center-left Social Democrats and pro-business Free Democrats.

Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck speaking to the press about their decision
Green co-leaders Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck speaking to the press about their decisionImage: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

Germany's Greens want to discuss forming a new coalition with the Social Democrats (SPD) and Free Democrats (FDP).

"That's what we're proposing to the FDP," party co-chair Annalena Baerbock said in Berlin on Wednesday. 

Baerbock said Germany faced major challenges that had to be tackled quickly, adding that the Greens were convinced that "this country cannot afford a long hangover."

Co-chair Robert Habeck said previous days of discussion had shown "that this is where the greatest overlaps are conceivable."

This was particularly true with regard to social policy, he said. However, the outcome of exploratory talks between the FDP and SPD — who may struggle to find common ground on economic policy — would also be a factor in any three-way deal.

After Germany's general election last month, the Greens and the FDP had talks first with each other and then separately with the SPD and with the conservative CDU/CSU union to explore possible lines of compromise.

"The cookie is far from eaten," said Habeck. "Many things still have to be discussed," he said, adding that the development did not mean the outright rejection of any coalition with the FDP and CDU/CSU. 

Greens see gaps with conservatives

Armin Laschet, the head of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats, the CDU, had appeared buoyant after meeting with Green Party leaders on Tuesday.

"We have clear differences," Laschet told reporters after the talks, "but differences that are not insurmountable."

Laschet appeared alongside Markus Söder, the leader of the CDU's Bavarian sister party, the CSU, and both  Baerbock and Habeck.

However, Baerbock had appeared less upbeat, saying that the parties, "on some topics, especially social policy, are rather far apart."

The move brings Finance Minister Olaf Scholz, from the SPD — which gained a larger share of the vote than any other party — a step closer to becoming Germany's new chancellor. 

A tie-up between the SPD, Greens and FDP would be a first in Germany. The mix has been dubbed a "traffic light" coalition after the parties' respective red, green and yellow colors. 

Any combination of the Greens and FDP with the conservatives would be dubbed a Jamaica coalition, based on the party colors being the same as those that comprise the Caribbean island’s flag.  

rc/wmr (dpa, Reuters)