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Marlborough Express - 2021-11-26

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New govt softens on migrants

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of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. It also unveiled plans to build 400,000 affordable new homes a year, a quarter of them paid for directly by the taxpayer. The voting age is also to be lowered to 16. ‘‘We are united by our belief in progress,’’ Scholz said as he presented the plans. ‘‘We want politics of real impact.’’ Scholz is expected to be sworn in as chancellor in two weeks’ time, after he secured the deal to lead Germany’s first ever threeway coalition. The new government still has to be approved by Parliament in a vote to be held in the week of December 6, but this is expected to be a formality. Merkel will stay on as caretaker chancellor until her successor takes office, but her authority is already draining away. The coalition leaders rejected calls from Merkel for a new coronavirus lockdown, and plan to focus on raising the German vaccination rate instead. She summoned the leaders of the coalition parties to her office late on Tuesday night, local time, and reportedly pressed for a twoweek full lockdown, but was rebuffed. Instead, Scholz announced plans to form a new coronavirus crisis taskforce, and to make vaccination compulsory for hospital and nursing home workers. ‘‘Vaccination is the way out of this pandemic,’’ he said. The coalition will bring together Scholz’s centre-left Social Democrats (SPD), the probusiness Free Democrats (FDP), and the German Green Party. The FDP appeared to have walked away with the biggest prize despite being the smallest party, after its leader, Christian Lindner, was named as finance minister. German policy on Russia and China is expected to become considerably tougher and shift away from Merkel’s conciliatory tone after the Green Party was given the foreign ministry. The Greens have yet to name ministers but Annalena Baerbock, a hardliner on Moscow and Beijing, is expected to get the foreign ministry. She has repeatedly called for the controversial Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline to be scrapped, putting the new government on a potential collision course with Russia. The Greens have also been given a new ministry for business and climate in addition to the existing environment ministry. – Telegraph Group

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