How the Union could slow down the traffic lights in the Federal Council


Status: 07.11.2021 11:23 a.m.

In the Bundestag, the Union will probably end up in the opposition. In ten countries, however, the CDU and CSU continue to govern. Difficult for a possible traffic light coalition, because the Union could block important projects in the Federal Council.

By Björn Dake, ARD capital studio

Florian Herrmann is Bavaria’s Minister of State for Federal Affairs. The CSU politician represents the Free State in the Federal Council. He warns: “In any case, there is no body in which the federal traffic light coalition can quasi govern.”

Björn Dake
ARD capital studio

16 federal states sit in the Federal Council. The CDU and CSU govern ten of them. Without their votes, nothing works in the Länderkammer. Because these countries have 51 votes out of a total of 69. Important projects of a traffic light coalition made up of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP could easily fail because of the union states – whenever the Federal Council has to approve a law. For example in the case of a major tax reform. Or at voting age 16. This would even require two-thirds majorities in the Bundestag and Bundesrat.

Greens hope for constructive cooperation

There is currently only one traffic light coalition in one federal state, in Rhineland-Palatinate. Anne Spiegel is Deputy Prime Minister there. The Green politician wants to wait and see whether the Union is blocked. According to her, the Federal Council is a body in which the interests of the federal states are represented. Spiegel assumes that this will continue to be the case in the future.

Most recently, the Greens also flexed their muscles in the Federal Council. At times you were involved in eleven state governments. In June, for example, they stopped the Federal Police Act of the Union and the SPD there. They also prevented the federal government from classifying other countries as “safe countries of origin” in its asylum policy.

In 2003, the CDU and CSU implemented changes to the social laws of Agenda 2010 of the SPD through the Federal Council. In the 1990s, the SPD blocked a tax reform of the Union through its majority.

Ramelow warns of abuse of the state chamber

Bodo Ramelow observes, however, that the party book rarely plays a role in the votes in the Federal Council. The left-wing politician is Prime Minister in Thuringia and currently the President of the Federal Council. He assumes that the interests of the countries will continue to be the main focus there. “The abuse of the Federal Council as a blocking device would be a mistake,” says Ramelow. He expressly does not expect it.

The Prime Minister sees the majority in the Bundesrat as an opportunity for the Union. You could stabilize yourself across the countries and provide impetus. For example, with your own legislative proposals. However, they could then fail because of the traffic light parties. Florian Herrmann from the CSU thinks it is possible that the SPD, Greens and FDP will then block.

Complete blockage is unlikely

A complete blockade of the plans of a possible future traffic light coalition in the Federal Council is not very likely. At the moment the “neutral” countries dominate there. Neutral means that they often abstain from voting. In these countries, traffic light parties rule together with the Union in various constellations. There is only one country where there is no traffic light party in government – Bavaria.

How the Union could slow down the traffic lights in the Federal Council

Björn Dake, ARD Berlin, November 7th, 2021 10:21 am

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