BERLIN (Reuters) - Talks between the parties seeking to form Germany’s next government have reached a crunch point, with leaders of the three camps expected to haggle through the night on Thursday to see if they have enough common ground to form a coalition.
Following are some important areas of disagreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), her Bavarian Christian Social Union (CSU) allies, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the ecologist Greens.
Merkel’s Bavarian allies in the CSU are adamant that Germany accept no more than 200,000 migrants arriving for humanitarian reasons each year, a demand that the left-leaning Greens reject.
Another point of dispute is family reunion, with the CSU, mindful of the likely drubbing it faces in next year’s election in Bavaria, demanding a tightening of rules that allow refugees already in Germany to bring in immediate relatives.
The conservatives and the FDP are also anxious to speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers as well as people convicted of crimes. The Greens want to maintain more flexibility and individual discretion in this area.
The conservatives want more states, including Algeria, Tunisia and Morocco, to be declared safe countries of origin, whereas the Greens are opposed to the very concept of safe countries whose citizens are ineligible for asylum.
The CSU fears that a failure to deliver on its pledges could condemn it to systemic decline in its conservative home state, which bore the brunt of the 2015 influx of more than a million migrants.
The Greens demand sharper cuts to carbon emissions than the other parties are prepared to countenance. For the Greens, coal generating capacity must be cut by as much as 10 gigawatt by 2020 to reduce emissions, while the other parties want cuts of no more than 5 GW.
While all parties agree that the existing European carbon emissions trading scheme should be strengthened, the Greens want a minimum carbon price to be set. The other parties are prepared only to “examine” extending the scheme to cover transport.
The parties are at odds over whether to endorse a French proposal for a joint euro zone budget to help member states in emergency situations and shield Europe from future crises.
The FDP opposes such a “fiscal capability” for the currency bloc, while Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens are in favour of such an economic shock absorber.
All parties nonetheless oppose automatic transfers from richer to poorer member states - or debt mutualisation.
They also disagree on how to complete the euro zone’s banking union through a pan-European deposit insurance scheme.
Merkel’s conservatives and the Greens want to leave the door open for such a step, emphasizing that risk-reduction should have priority over risk-sharing in the banking sector. The FDP wants to rule out a joint deposit insurance scheme.
The conservatives and the FDP want to see income tax cuts, though have not agreed on a specific number. The Greens want to see billions of euros allocated to building environmentally friendly, affordable housing.
The Greens, with their younger voter profile, are opposed to the other parties’ demands that rent control rules be abolished.
The Greens want to push within NATO for all nuclear weapons to be removed from German territory, an ambition not shared by the other parties. The United States does not officially acknowledge having any of its nuclear arms stationed in the country.
The Greens want to introduce far tighter restrictions on arms exports, in particular to prevent human rights violations, whereas the other parties are keen to strengthen an already successful export industry.
Reporting by Thomas Escritt and Michael Nienaber; editing by Mark Heinrich