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Mixed signals from Germany’s traffic-light coalition

By Helmut K. Anheier

12 Apr 2023 · 3 min read

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.

Curated by informed

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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