The coalition agreement of the German Social Democrats, the Greens and the liberal FDP places particular emphasis on measures to ensure the participation of marginalized and vulnerable groups and to combat racism on all fronts.
During the presentation of the coalition agreement on Wednesday 24 November, all parties declared their commitment to diversity in German society.
“We are for socio-political liberalization. Diversity and individuality are what binds us together, ”FDP chief Christian Lindner said at the press conference.
The Greens are particularly keen to make diversity a top priority.
Annalena Baerbock, the Greens’ top candidate, stressed that they were defending an approach which “does not look at individual groups, but sees diversity in society as a strength and develops policies for diversity in society”.
This position is also reflected in the coalition document itself, which announces that the “traffic light coalition” will push for greater inclusion of Muslims and Jews, as well as LGBTQIs.
In addition, the three parties have announced their intention to pass a federal law on participation which will clearly state that Germany is a “country of immigrants”.
The coalition also plans to tackle racism, anti-Semitism and anti-Gypsyism on an unprecedented scale, to ensure that Germany becomes a more inclusive society, based on the values of diversity.
Federal Law on Participation
The idea of passing a law that will provide a legal basis for the participation of vulnerable and marginalized groups is not new.
Ahead of the elections, the Federal Conference of Migrant Organizations in Germany has already called for the adoption of such a law and presented its own legal proposal on what a federal law on participation might look like in August.
Until now, the conservative CDU has always blocked such a proposal, arguing that the legal provisions to ensure participation would be an “ultima ratio [last resort]”.
However, with the next traffic light coalition, that will likely change, as all three parties have announced that they want to strengthen diversity by passing such a participation law.
In addition, they also want to adopt a new “diversity strategy” to ensure that minority groups are more represented in public administration.
A study by the think tank Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, which is close to the SPD, showed that people with an immigrant background occupy only 7% of all jobs in public administration, while migrant communities constitute 25% of the overall German population.
The coalition will also press for a flexibilization of the law on citizenship, in order to stimulate the participation of migrant communities. They want to allow people to have multiple passports and will facilitate the process of acquiring German nationality.
Stepping up the fight against racism
The coalition agreement also underlined that the new government would also continue to “fight right-wing extremism and racism” and develop more measures to tackle the problem.
The next government wants to develop a new strategy to ensure greater social cohesion and the prevention of extremist or conspiratorial thinking – both online and offline.
In addition, the government plans to strengthen government anti-racism bodies and will invest in research and monitoring.
For example, the German Center for Integration and Migration Studies will play a larger role in monitoring racism across Germany.
In addition, an anti-racism commissioner and an anti-Gypsy commissioner will be appointed – in addition to the already existing anti-Semitism commissioner – and an independent advice center for anti-Gypsyism is to be created in the next legislature.
Civil society groups welcomed the new approach.
“At first glance, the coalition agreement is encouraging,” Markus N. Beeko, secretary general of Amnesty International Germany, said in a statement.
The Amadeu Antonio Foundation, one of the leading German civil society organizations on anti-Semitism and racism, also welcomed the results of the coalition talks.
The coalition agreement gives the impression “that the new federal government takes seriously the protection of democracy and the fight against right-wing extremism,” the foundation said in a statement.
Similarly, the Central Council of Jews in Germany said the coalition agreement “encourages optimism.”
“Successfully combating right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism is essential for the future of Germany,” Council President Josef Schuster said in a statement.
[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]