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#Germany heading towards ‘Jamaica’ coalition

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Merkel’s CDU/CSU will – as predicted – form the next government. The SPD have already ruled themselves out of any future coalition, the so-called ‘Jamaica’ coalition looks like the most likely outcome, writes Catherine Feore.

The result was disappointing for the mainstream centre right and social democratic parties. Today’s main winner was the Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) who become the third largest party. It is estimated that AfD could have as many as 90 seats. Their success can be attributed in large part to voters from former Eastern Germany, particularly men. The East/West divide still marks German politics nearly 30 years since the fall of the Berlin wall.

AfD gained votes from all parties:

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Jamaica Coalition

The term refers to the colours of the Jamaican flag – black, green and yellow. Black is the colour of the CDU and yellow for the Liberal FDP party.

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The night was also a success for the FDP who failed to return any members of parliament at the last general election. FDP not only return to the Bundestag, but appear likely to return to government.

The FDP takes a very sceptical view on future plans for any sort of Eurozone budget and have described it as a ‘line in the sand’ – a view that is probably shared by Wolfgang Schauble.

The European Parliament’s Vice President and head of the FDP delegation Alexander Graf Lambsdorff MEP said:

"The past four years were like a long walk through the desert. Despite these difficult times, we always stood by our liberal values and beliefs and remained an open-minded, pro-European party."

"The return to the Bundestag is a historic moment for the FDP and the result of hard work, intense debates and a new political culture in our party. We now want to shape European politics in times when the EU is facing a multitude of challenges."

Co-chair of the Green Party, Reinhard Bütikofer described the way forward as difficult, even treacherous. He outlined the Green priorities within a coalition:

“We want to close down the 20 dirtiest coal fired power plants in the country now. We want a progressive transport and agriculture policy. We will stand for more justice. And we will champion the cause of a stronger European Union, making use of the window of opportunity that exists in the triangle between Paris, Brussels and Berlin.”

The Green party will have to put any decision to participate in the coalition to a referendum of its members.

 

Agriculture

Common Agricultural Policy: How does the EU support farmers?

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From supporting farmers to protecting the environment, the EU's farm policy covers a range of different goals. Learn how EU agriculture is funded, its history and its future, Society.

What is the Common Agricultural Policy?

The EU supports farming through its Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Set up in 1962, it has undergone a number of reforms to make agriculture fairer for farmers and more sustainable.

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There are about 10 million farms in the EU and the farming and food sectors together provide nearly 40 million jobs in the EU.

How is the Common Agricultural Policy funded?

The Common Agricultural Policy is funded through the EU budget. Under the EU's budget for 2021-2027, €386.6 billion has been set aside for farming. It is divided into two parts:

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  • €291.1bn for the European Agricultural Guarantee Fund, which provides income support for farmers.
  • €95.5bn for the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development, which includes funding for rural areas, climate action and the management of natural resources.

How does EU agriculture look today? 

Farmers and the agriculture sector were affected by COVID-19 and the EU introduced specific measures to support the industry and incomes. Current rules on how CAP funds should be spent run until 2023 due to delays in budget negotiations. This required a transitional agreement to protect farmers’ incomes and ensure food security.

Will the reform mean a more environmentally-friendly Common Agricultural Policy?

EU agriculture accounts for about 10% of greenhouse gas emissions. The reform should lead to a more environmentally friendly, fairer and transparent EU farm policy, MEPs said, after a deal was reached with the Council. Parliament wants to link CAP to the Paris agreement on climate change, while increasing support to young farmers and small and medium-sized farms. Parliament will vote on the final deal in 2021 and it will come into effect in 2023.

Agriculture policy is linked to the European Green Deal and the Farm to Fork strategy from the European Commission, which aims to protect the environment and ensure healthy food for everyone, whilst ensuring farmers’ livelihoods.

More on agriculture

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Agriculture

Proposed lift on USA lamb ban welcome news for industry

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The FUW met with the USDA in 2016 to discuss lamb export opportunities. From left, US agricultural specialist Steve Knight, US Counselor for agricultural affairs Stan Phillips, FUW senior policy officer Dr Hazel Wright and FUW President Glyn Roberts

The Farmers’ Union of Wales has welcomed news that the long standing ban on importing Welsh lamb into the United States is to be lifted soon. The announcement was made by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday 22 September. 

The FUW has long discussed the prospect of lifting the unjustified ban with the USDA in various meetings over the past decade. Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales have highlighted that the potential market for PGI Welsh Lamb in the USA is estimated to be worth as much as £20 million a year within five years of the export restrictions being removed.

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Speaking from his Carmarthenshire sheep farm, FUW Deputy President Ian Rickman, said: “Now more than ever we need to explore other export markets while also protecting our long established markets in Europe. The US market is one we are keen to develop much stronger relationships with and the news that this ban could soon be lifted is most welcome news for our sheep industry.”

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Economy

Sustainable urban transport takes centre stage for European Mobility Week

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Around 3,000 towns and cities across Europe are participating in this year's European Mobility Week, which started yesterday and will last until Wednesday, 22 September. The 2021 campaign has been launched under the theme ‘Safe and healthy with sustainable mobility', and will promote the use of public transport as a safe, efficient, affordable, and low-emission mobility option for everyone. 2021 is also the 20th anniversary of car-free day, from which the European Mobility Week has grown.

“A clean, smart and resilient transport system is at the core of our economies and central to people's lives. This is why, on the 20th anniversary of the European Mobility Week, I am proud of the 3,000 cities across Europe and beyond for showcasing how safe and sustainable transport options help our communities to stay connected during these challenging times,” said Transport Commissioner Adina Vălean.

For this landmark year, the European Commission has created a virtual museum showcasing the history of the week, its impact, personal stories, and how it links with the EU's broader sustainability priorities. Elsewhere, activities around Europe include bicycle festivals, exhibitions of electric vehicles and workshops. This year's event also coincides with a public consultation on the Commission's ideas for a new urban mobility framework, and the European Year of Rail with its Connecting Europe Express train.

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