German coalition pact seeks ban on glyphosate

BERLIN (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s

conservatives and the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) reached

agreement on Wednesday on the policy platform for a coalition

government, but the SPD’s roughly 464,000 members still have a

chance to veto the deal.

 

Following is a summary of the main policies agreed:

 

FARMING

 

* Systematically and significantly limit use of weed killer

glyphosate with the aim of entirely ending use of plant

protection agents that contain this as quickly as possible.

 

* Ban on patenting plant or animal genes.

 

* Reject cloning of animals for food production.

 

 

ECONOMY

 

* Invest 5.95 billion euros in education, research and

digitalisation by 2021.

 

* Invest 12.0 billion euros in family, child and social

measures such as nursery centres and boosting child benefit.

 

* Invest 4.0 billion euros in building social housing and in

tax incentives to encourage home ownership.

 

* Stick to goal of balanced budget with no new debt.

 

* Ensure all regions have fast internet by 2025. Expect that

to cost up to 12 billion euros in public funds.

 

* Make Germany more attractive for financial institutions in

view of Britain’s looming departure from the European Union.

 

* Develop a comprehensive blockchain strategy and campaign

for a legal framework for trading with cryptocurrencies and

tokens at the European and international level.

 

 

 

SOCIAL AFFAIRS

 

* Prevent abuse of short-term contracts, companies with more

than 75 employees can employ a maximum of 2.5 percent of their

workforce on a short-term basis.

 

* Raise the level of student funding and increase

apprenticeship loans.

 

* Increase the minimum wage for apprentices.

 

TAX

 

* Gradually abolish solidarity tax introduced after

reunification in 1990 to support poorer eastern states, which

currently provides 10 billion euros ($12 billion) of tax relief.

 

 

 

EUROPE

 

* Support devoting specific budget funds to economic

stabilisation, social convergence and structural reform in euro

zone. Those funds could form the basis for a future “investment

budget” for the euro zone.

 

* Strengthen and reform euro zone in close partnership with

France so that the euro is more resistant to global crises.

 

* Turn the euro zone bailout fund, called the European

Stability Mechanism (ESM), into a European Monetary Fund under

parliamentary control, anchored in EU law.

 

* Strengthen European Parliament and boost European Union

finances – Germany would be prepared to pay more into the EU

budget.

 

* Boost investment in Europe.

 

* Support fair taxation for big companies, especially

internet firms such as Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon.

Companies should no longer be able to play EU states off each

other in terms of taxation, and tax dumping must be banned.

 

* Work to introduce substantial financial transaction tax.

 

* Boost Franco-German cooperation with projects such as

researching artificial intelligence.

 

* Seek greater cooperation with Poland and intensified

dialogue between the two societies, including by supporting

youth meetings and youth networks.

 

 

 

PENSIONS

 

* Stabilise pensions at 48 percent of the average wage by

2025 and ensure that contributions do not rise above 20 percent

of gross wages.

 

* Increase minimum pension levels in order to combat old-age

poverty.

 

HEALTH

 

* From Jan 1. 2019, employers and employees to pay the same

contributions to health insurance.

 

* Set up commission to examine whether a joint fee structure

for private and public patients is feasible.

 

 

 

ARMS EXPORTS

 

* Further reduce arms exports, tighten arms export

guidelines in 2018, and ban sales of assault rifles and other

small arms to countries that are not members of the European

Union or NATO or have similar status.

 

* Immediately stop arms exports to countries directly

involved in the Yemen conflict, and coordinate similar approach

with partners in joint European projects.

 

* Push for joint European arms export policies.

 

FOREIGN/MILITARY POLICY

 

* Earmark any additional government surplus primarily for

defence, development and crisis prevention, with spending to be

split equally between military and non-military projects.

 

* Intensify dialogue with U.S. federal government, Congress

and U.S. states, as well as American public, with eye to making

German and European positions more visible.

 

* Take the initiative to strengthen European foreign policy

making mechanism, similar to PESCO structure set up to

coordinate EU military projects.

 

* Do not want to close any chapters in Turkey’s EU accession

negotiation, or open any new ones.

 

* Germany and France to continue pushing for solution to

Ukraine conflict. Prepared to loosen sanctions if Russia

implements terms of Minsk agreement aimed at ending fighting in

Ukraine.

 

* All West Balkan countries have a chance of joining EU.

They need to undertake reforms on fighting organised crime and

corruption and on establishing the rule of law.

 

* Pursue goal of strengthening European contribution to

NATO, and strengthening cooperation between EU and NATO.

 

* No mention of NATO target of spending 2 percent of GDP on

military. Aim to achieve agreed NATO capability goals and close

gaps in capabilities.

 

ENVIRONMENT/CLIMATE

 

* Recognise Germany’s existing 2020, 2030 and 2050 climate

goals. Take measures to reach 2020 climate goal as soon as

possible (after 2020). Definitely reach 2030 climate goal on

time and pass law to guarantee this.

 

* Devise programme to gradually reduce coal-fired power

generation.

 

* Continue with plans to phase out nuclear power generation.

 

 

MIGRATION

 

* Manage and limit migration to Germany and Europe to

prevent a repeat of the 2015 refugee influx.

 

* Do not expect migration (excluding labour migration) to

rise above the range of 180,000 to 220,000 per year.

 

* Cap at 1,000 a month the number of people who will be

allowed to join family members now living in Germany as migrants

enjoying a lesser degree of protection than full refugee status.

 

* Make it more attractive for skilled labourers to come to

Germany in an orderly way.

 

* Improve Germany’s ability to integrate migrants and

promote deeper involvement of people of migration background in

public life.

 

 

ISRAEL/JEWISH LIFE/PALESTINIANS

 

* Set up new post of commissioner to lead fight against

anti-Semitism and support Jewish life in Germany.

 

* Affirm that Israel’s current settlement policy, saying it

“contradicts existing international law and does not find our

support, because it makes a two-state solution more difficult”.

 

* Start EU initiative to ensure sufficient and sustainable

financing for – and reforms of – the United Nations Relief and

Works Agency (UNWRA) that serves Palestinians refugees.

 

DIESEL

 

* Older diesel vehicles to be retrofitted to reduce

emissions as far as technically and economically viable. Boost

funds for national diesel forum, which aims to find ways to

reduce pollution from diesel engines.

(Reporting by Michelle Martin, Andrea Shalal and Thomas

Escritt; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Richard Balmforth)

 

 

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