Olaf Scholz says 'The free movement of labour is part of the EU'
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The next Government to assume control of Germany submitted its coalition agreement on Wednesday, as it looks to alter the country’s relationship with China. In particular, the document makes no mention of support for an investment pact struck between the EU and China last December.
On Wednesday, the leaders of Germany’s Social Democrats (SPD), Greens and the Free Democrats (FDP) clinched a deal to form the country’s next Government.
Olaf Scholz, leader of the SPD, will head up the new coalition as the next German Chancellor to succeed the outgoing Angela Merkel.
At a press conference in Berlin, on Wednesday, the three leaders announced they had reached an agreement and unveiled a coalition pact which reads more than 170 pages long.
Within the document references were made to how it would tackle the ongoing Covid pandemic, raising the minimum wage and phasing out coal power by 2030.
In addition, it also discussed how Germany would work with China moving forward.
Early indications are that the coalition will not follow the same direction that had previously been undertaken by Ms Merkel’s conservative regime.
In fact, China is mentioned by name only 12 times within the Coalition’s 178-page dossier.
On these occasions, the coalition discusses issues relating to Taiwan, Xinjiang and Hong Kong.
The coalition also demonstrates no support, within the document, for an EU-China investment agreement that was made last year.
As of yet the deal has not been ratified by either party and was only agreed to after seven years of negotiations.
Ms Merkel was viewed as one of the main protagonists for helping to get the deal over the line.
However, Germany’s future leaders now look set to turn their back on support for the deal before it’s officially signed off, citing concerns over sanctions that China has currently imposed over members of the European Parliament.
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In recent years, the Greens and FDP have also been outspoken in relation to China’s human rights record.
This is the first time that any German coalition document has name-dropped Taiwan.
When mentioned within the pact, the coalition states that “any change in the status quo in the Taiwan Strait must be peaceful and mutually agreed”.
Furthermore, they say they would support Taiwan’s democratic participation in international organisations where it is relevant.
What will Germany’s new Government look like?
For the first time in 16 years, Germany will have a centre-left Government and a new chancellor in Olaf Scholz. Mr Scholz is expected to be sworn into office early next month.
The trio of parties that make up the coalition have never governed Germany together before and the country is traditionally used to two rather than three parties overseeing its Federal Government.
The coalition has designs on tackling a number of key issues including climate change, reducing the voting age to 16 and improving digital innovation and infrastructure.
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