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Mixed signals from Germany’s traffic-light coalition

By Helmut K. Anheier

12 Apr 2023 · 3 min read

Editor's Note

A sociology professor gives a report card on the performance of the coalition government in Germany and what needs to be done to ensure sufficient damage control before national elections in 2025.

BERLIN – The policy bottlenecks that many people thought would impede Germany’s Ampelkoalition (“traffic-light coalition”) have materialized, well into its second year in power. The country’s first three-party government since the 1950s, comprising the Social Democrats (SPD), the Greens, and the Liberal Democrats (FDP), took office with an ambitious agenda and high hopes for far-reaching reform. The almost 200-page coalition agreement promised to “Dare More Progress,” signaling a break from the complacency that characterized the last years of Angela Merkel’s chancellorship.

Presenting a raft of policy proposals in an orderly, rational fashion, the coalition agreement gave the impression of a government willing and able to implement reforms. The results so far suggest otherwise. Some, like the electoral reform bill, have been poorly designed, while others, including a recent meeting convened to address the country’s ailing education system, ended in failure.

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