Germany's "traffic light" coalition government is in turmoil after a decision by the country's top court to block forthcoming votes on a key piece of green legislation. (Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


German Government in chaos after court blocks ‘green’ vote


Germany’s so-called ‘traffic light’ coalition government is in turmoil after a decision by the country’s top court to block forthcoming votes on a key piece of environmental legislation.

The centre-Left administration had been trying to push through reforms curbing the use of domestic gas-fired boilers in the country, with the restrictions aimed at aiding the state’s net-zero goals.

Efforts to rush the legislation through the German Parliament before the summer recess had angered many opposition members, with a number of representatives complaining to the courts that they were not being given time to carefully consider the measures.

One of these cases, brought by Christian Democratic Union (CDU) MP Thomas Heilmann, made headway, with the German Federal Constitutional Court approving a temporary injunction blocking a vote on the measures that had been due to take place on July 7.

In a press release detailing the decision, the court said that Heilmann’s request for an injunction was justified, with the potential risk to German democracy detailed in his case outweighing any problems that would be caused by delaying the vote.

Heilmann has celebrated the victory as a “great success” for German parliamentarianism, adding that he nevertheless supported the implementation of climate-friendly measures when pushed through the Bundestag, or parliament, correctly.

The response from the German Government was initially less positive, with ministers at first considering convening an emergency summer session to vote on the bill.

Those plans now seem to have been abandoned, with Die Zeit reporting government leaders as saying that they will now look for the measures to be voted on in September.

“We have respect for the decision of the Federal Constitutional Court,” a joint statement by the leaders of the ruling Social Democratic Party, Free Democratic Party and the Greens said.

CDU faction leader Friedrich Merz has, meanwhile, insisted that the court ruling was “a heavy defeat” for the German chancellor Olaf Scholz’s government.

“This shows that climate protection cannot be achieved with a crowbar, but only with good and thorough advice in the Bundestag,” he said.

“Scholz and his … government would be well advised to use the judgment from [the Federal Constitutional Court] to pause.”