Confidential information about the coalition agreement is increasingly causing problems for the Green-Black coalition in Baden-Wurttemberg. Now new secret agreements become known.
Grinse cheeks: Winfried Kretschmann and Thomas Strobl with the coalition agreement Photo: dpa
The Green-Black coalition in Baden-Wurttemberg wants to cut staff, raise taxes and cut the budget of local authorities – but initially concealed this plan from both the public and its own members of parliament. As reported by the Sudwest Presse in Ulm, the measures are part of secret side agreements to the coalition agreement. According to the report, the documents bear the signatures of Minister President Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) and his deputy Thomas Strobl (CDU).
Although the two parties had also stipulated in the publicly available coalition agreement that they wanted to consolidate the budget, it was not yet known what specific measures would be taken to achieve this. According to the side agreements, the coalition leaders are considering in detail raising the real estate transfer tax by 1.5 percentage points to six percent, cutting a total of 5,000 public sector jobs by 2020 and squeezing up to 300 million euros a year from cities and municipalities.
The publication puts the state government under pressure for the second time just three months after it took office. Back in July, Kretschmann had to defend himself in the state parliament after the existence of another side agreement became known. In it, he and Strobl had excluded certain areas from savings, including housing, digitization and childcare. They did not even inform the members of the government factions about this agreement.
Now that further side agreements have become known, Kretschmann and Strobl reacted with a joint letter to the parliamentary groups. "Democracy needs transparency. But democracy also needs confidentiality and protected spaces, otherwise it cannot function," it says. According to the letter, the coalition has concealed the planned measures so as not to complicate the state government’s "negotiating position with the relevant associations." In addition, the side agreements were no more than "declarations of intent" that were not binding on either the government or parliament.
Kretschmann and Strobl
"Democracy needs confidentiality and protected spaces"
Kretschmann’s former coalition partners from the SPD, on the other hand, are outraged. "I could not have imagined six months ago that something like this would happen under a Minister President Kretschmann," said state chairwoman Leni Breymaier.
She said it was frightening that Green-Black was portraying an "unclean political style" as normal. "What is going on here is not normal, and it is not usual. Anyone who acts in such a non-transparent way destroys the most important asset you can have: Trust."
Hans-Ulrich Rulke’s criticism goes even further. The FDP parliamentary group leader said, "First, we want clarification by parliamentary means. If this is not enough and if more and more new secret agreements are revealed, I do not rule out a committee of inquiry."