Scholz’s Germany: more rights for migrants, youth, women and LGTBI | International


Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, leaders of the Greens;  Olaf Scholz, acting vice chancellor, in the center, and the leader of the Liberals, Christian Lindner, in a photo taken this Wednesday in Berlin.
Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck, leaders of the Greens; Olaf Scholz, acting vice chancellor, in the center, and the leader of the Liberals, Christian Lindner, in a photo taken this Wednesday in Berlin.FABRIZIO BENSCH (Reuters)

The Germany of 2025 will be more progressive and will expand the rights of migrants, youth, women and the LGTBI community if the next government led by the social democrat Olaf Scholz fulfills the promises of its coalition agreement. After 16 years of Executives headed by Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats, the unprecedented tripartite has agreed a contract that revolutionizes some areas, such as women’s reproductive rights or the right of citizenship. The coalition of Social Democrats, Greens and Liberals arrives determined to modernize the country under the slogan “Daring for more progress.”

All three parties have turned to young people, whose vote in the last election has reinvented the German political landscape. Liberals and greens swept the under 25s. If only they voted, the German chancellor would be Annalena Baerbock, the co-leader of the environmentalists. Liberals were very successful with first-time voters. One in four gave them their confidence, when the party obtained 11.5% among the entire electorate. Hence, one of the star measures of the Government pact is to allow voting from the age of 16. Some Länder already contemplate it. Now the tripartite will legislate for adolescents to vote in the European Parliament. Also so that they can elect the deputies of the Bundestag, although that is more complicated, since it requires a modification of the German Basic Law (constitution).

If the tripartite manages to carry out all its proposals, in Germany in 2025 it will also be possible to buy cannabis for recreational use. Both the Greens and the Liberals had defended this initiative because they believe that it will end the black market and provide tax revenue. A recent study by the University of Düsseldorf estimates that the measure would mean almost 5,000 million euros a year for the state coffers.

The changes proposed by the tripartite represent a radical change in migration and integration policies in a country that will need the arrival of 400,000 foreigners each year to cover its personnel shortages. A foreigner who settles in the country in 2020 will be able to apply for German nationality in 2025, after only five years of residence – three in the case of “special integration achievements”, which are not specified – and will be able to maintain double the nationality. This last point affects tens of thousands of Turks who remain foreigners after decades living in the country.

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From the right of blood to a modern citizenship law

The new rules represent a notable evolution from the strict laws of the eighties and nineties, when practically only nationality was acquired by right of blood (when the father or mother were German). “We will create a modern citizenship law,” write the coalition partners. Germany embraces its condition as a country of migrants: “To take advantage of Germany’s new potential as a business and science headquarters, we want people from other countries to be able to study or train in our country more easily,” says the tripartite, who also wants to facilitate the procedures to the Turkish community, which are known as the “guest worker generation”. For a long time, says the tripartite, their integration was not a priority. Now “in recognition of the achievements of a lifetime” the level of language they must demonstrate to access citizenship will be lowered.

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The tripartite will promote changes that affect the LGTBI community, such as the repeal of the so-called transsexuality law, which will be replaced by a “self-determination law”. The coalition wants to establish a procedure in the civil registry that allows changing the registration of sex in the civil status by means of a mere declaration, just as the Spanish Government has recently approved. Currently, the agreement states that sex reassignment treatments must be “fully covered” by the compulsory German health insurance.

Until now, homosexuals and transsexuals are prohibited from donating blood, something that the tripartite also wants to suppress. The text also contemplates that when a child is born in the marriage of two women, both will be “automatically legal mothers”.

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In the section dedicated to the fight against extremism – Germany considers that its biggest security problem is right-wing extremism – the coalition partners introduce a novelty that could also end up being part of a law. The register of politically motivated crimes currently does not include hate crimes against women and homosexuals, something they now want to reform.

If the parties fulfill their government contract, in 2025 many things will have changed in the reproductive rights of women, for example with respect to the interruption of pregnancy. Abortion, says the text, “must be part of medical education and training.” There is an article in the German penal code that makes it difficult for doctors to give information about the procedure (219, which prohibits the “publicity” of abortion). The tripartite wants to repeal it. He also assures that he wants to end the harassment of self-styled pro-life groups of women in front of the clinics. “The possibility of free abortion is part of a reliable health care,” he says.

The tripartite also opens to expand the fertility treatments that can be performed in Germany and those covered by the mandatory health insurance. Germany has one of the largest proportions of the population over 65 in Europe and the birth rate is below the Union average. “We want to offer more support to people who want to have children,” says the coalition. Social democrats, greens and liberals will study the legalization of egg donation – a legal technique in Spain since 1988 – and the “surrogacy [práctica también conocida como vientres de alquiler] altruist ”, for which they will create a commission on reproductive medicine.

Artificial insemination with donor semen can be performed “regardless of the medical indication, marital status and sexual identity,” the agreement states, which also promises to review the age restrictions and treatment cycles that a patient can undergo. Now, insurers do not cover the amount if the woman is over 40 or if the couple is not married. The federal government will cover 25% of the costs, to assume the total figure in the future, says the tripartite. The agreement also incorporates measures for equality between men and women and to strengthen the fight against sexist violence, which in Germany remains largely a taboo subject, for which statistics are lacking and which some press still refer to as “crimes of passion. ”.

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Top priority, keep the most powerful post in Brussels

The German tripartite has decided that in 2024 it wants to bet on a green commissioner. But this principle has a very important caveat: “As long as the president of the European Commission is not German.” In other words, the new Government is willing to step aside in Brussels if a compatriot has options to lead the Community Executive.
The first name that comes to mind is that of the popular Ursula von der Leyen, former Minister of Labor and Defense with Angela Merkel, who now chairs the European Commission. But this does not only benefit her, it can also serve Manfred Weber, the Bavarian of the CSU, the traditional partners of the CDU, who already aspired to preside over the Community Executive in 2019. This conservative politician is now the president of the popular group in the European Parliament and also aspires to lead the European People’s Party, which would place him in a very good position if he tried to run again as Spitzenkandidat in 2024, that is, head of the list of his political family in the following European elections. This mechanism for electing the highest European magistracy, known by its German word, was used in 2014, but not in 2019. It consists of the different parties electing a candidate at the continental level who, in principle, would preside over the Commission if they are the force. most voted. This did not work two years ago, despite the fact that Weber was the popular spitzenkandidat, because the heads of government favored Von der Leyen, another German conservative.
The coalition headed by Scholz is now committed to strengthening this election mechanism, which strengthens the role of Parliament, something that is also in the intentions signed by the three parties in Berlin. / MV GÓMEZ

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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