Pro-business party accepts official talks on new German government


BERLIN (AP) – Germany’s pro-business Free Democrats on Monday became the last of three parties to back the start of formal coalition talks on forming a new government.

Free Democrat leader Christian Lindner said the party’s national executive had unanimously agreed to take the plunge after weeks of informal talks with center-left Social Democrats and Green environmentalists.

Lindner said the three parties had not looked for each other before the September 26 election, “to put it diplomatically.”

“It is also not surprising that there are big differences on substantive issues,” he said, adding that those involved should show “a lot of tolerance and a willingness to rethink. Therein lies a chance, however, to do good things for our country. “

Lindner’s party has a strong free market ideology that contrasts with that of the Social Democrats who came first in last month’s elections ahead of the center-right Union bloc of Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The Greens, who came third ahead of the Free Democrats, also tend to be skeptical of market-based approaches, especially when it comes to tackling climate change.

Still, a preliminary agreement drafted following the first exploratory talks showed a consensus accelerating Germany’s exit from coal-fired electricity, currently slated for by 2038, so it will happen “ideally” by 2030. At the same time, the parties agreed not to impose a general speed. limit on German highways, a simple way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that the Free Democrats had yet opposed.

The largely smooth talks showed the first signs of friction over the weekend, however, as the Greens and Free Democrats seek to control the powerful finance ministry.

Lindner sought to minimize any discord, insisting he felt “the same positive vibes” as on Friday.


Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s transition to a new government at


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