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Germany’s Greens voted to approve the formal start of coalition talks with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) on Sunday, after coming in third in last month’s parliamentary elections.
At a specially convened meeting of the party executive in Berlin on Sunday, a large majority of delegates voted in favour of starting talks to form a joint government. Of 70 delegates, only two voted against and one abstained, the party said.
The FDP leadership is set to vote on the question on Monday, after the SPD executive voted unanimously in favour of coalition negotiations on Friday. The first talks could begin in a few days.
Greens leader Robert Habeck declared: “It is indeed the case that we are writing a piece of green history right now.” “We have arrived in a time of hope,” Habeck said, adding that the party was on the verge of entering Germany’s federal government for the second time.
Habeck stressed that the talks to enter government were happening “in a time of great susceptibility to crisis,” referencing among other things to “galloping global warming” and the enormous power of international tech giants.
The Greens now needed to prove that they were ready to take on the responsibilities of governing, Habeck said. “We are coming out of the defensive ... onto the offensive ... We want this responsibility,” he stressed.
The majority of the delegates at the party conference agreed with Habeck, but there was also criticism. Several delegates warned that important details still needed to be clarified in the upcoming coalition negotiations such as where the money for necessary investments would come from.
While all three parties have already agreed to formal talks to forge a coalition, Sunday’s vote serves as an official confirmation of the move by the wider Green Party membership.
Those voting included the 16-member party council, state association delegates, the head of the Green Bundestag parliamentary group, Green Members of the European parliament and representatives of the party’s youth wing.
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