At the end of March, when the coalition committee of the SPD, Greens and FDP discussed financial relief for citizens in view of rising energy costs and inflation, the leaders of the government, parties and parliamentary groups needed a full eleven hours and a tough night meeting to agree on a package of measures worth billions.
This Saturday, the again different ideas of the negotiating partners about the next bundle of relief should lead to a compromise more quickly, at least that was the intention. The impression that the traffic light, like the grand coalition of the Union and the SPD once did, can only agree on a common line when they are physically exhausted should be avoided as a matter of urgency. But that went terribly wrong – although the talks had started in the morning, they lasted deep into the night.
At nine in the morning, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD), Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (Greens) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) met in the Chancellery, later other ministers and the leaders of the parties and parliamentary groups joined. From 12.30 p.m., a large group of people discussed the matter, interrupted only by a few excursions to the balcony of the Chancellery.
After what the negotiating circles said were “very intense” and “difficult” talks, the coalition decided not to hold a night press conference. Scholz now wants to announce the results of the coalition deliberations on Sunday at 11 a.m. This was announced by the Chancellery on Sunday night during the ongoing negotiations. It was agreed not to disclose details of the negotiations.
A whole bundle of measures is expected with which the coalition wants to react to the sharp rise in energy and living costs. Direct payments for people with low incomes and in particular for pensioners and students, tax relief and a successor regulation for the nine-euro ticket in local transport were under discussion.
It would be the third relief package this year. In addition to the nine-euro ticket, the two previous packages also included the fuel discount that expired at the end of August, a one-off bonus for child benefit and a flat-rate energy price. The previous packages had a total volume of a good 30 billion euros.
Federal Minister of Finance Christian Lindner (FDP) announced another "massive package" on Wednesday after a two-day cabinet meeting. He saw scope for relief in the single-digit billions this year and in the double-digit billions for the coming year.
The SPD and the Greens are also calling for a so-called excess profit tax, with which profits from the crisis could be skimmed off, for example because of the high gas prices at energy companies. It could also be used to fund further relief. Lindner and the FDP are skeptical about the excess profit tax.