Christian Lindner has a passion for classic cars.

His Porsche 911 from 1982 has condition 1, which is the best condition for a historic vehicle.

You can feel the enthusiasm when the FDP chairman and federal finance minister talks about old cars and their engines.

These are then inevitably combustion engines, because at the beginning of the 1980s there was no Porsche with an electric motor.

Eckhart Lohse

Head of the parliamentary editorial office in Berlin.

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Markus Wehner

Political correspondent in Berlin.

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Now Lindner is professional enough not to mix politics and hobby.

Nevertheless, it is fitting that the FDP leader in particular is arguing with the Greens' Environment Minister Steffi Lemke - she particularly appreciates the paddle boat as a vehicle - about how Germany will behave in the EU vote on the end of the internal combustion engine.

Until shortly before the start of the meeting of environment ministers in Luxembourg on Tuesday, the storm clouds hung low over the traffic lights.

Lemke had announced that she would vote for a ban on the manufacture of internal combustion engines from 2035, Lindner expressed her opposition.

It was only from Luxembourg that the Greens signaled that they would fight for a compromise that was “very important” for the German position: Vehicles that were fueled with synthetic fuels (e-fuels) would be an exception beyond 2035 to treat.

That's what the FDP wants.

Consideration for economy or environment?

For now, the mood in the coalition was stabilized.

After the traffic light came about mainly due to the lack of an alternative, some stories were initially spread about how well the FDP and the Greens complemented each other.

It should have been clear to everyone that this spirited start into the longed-for government would soon be followed by the troubles of the plain.

The competition between caring for the economy and caring for the environment was recognized early on as a potential bone of contention.

And so it was not only stipulated in the coalition agreement that no partner would be outvoted in the cabinet, but also resolved to “position oneself clearly and early on through more stringent coordination on projects of the European Commission”.

And further: "In order to achieve the best possible representation of German interests at European level, the Federal Government will ensure a unified approach to European partners and institutions."

criticism of the chancellor

It goes without saying that the paper of a coalition agreement is more patient than reality.

But the reality of the traffic light coalition was very demanding.

This has not even primarily to do with the extreme challenge posed by Russia's war against Ukraine.

Rather, the first serious disagreement at the traffic light arose when dealing with the corona pandemic.

Both Federal Health Minister Karl Lauterbach and Chancellor Olaf Scholz, both from the SPD, had decided early on that the Bundestag should decide on compulsory vaccination.

There was support from the Greens, resistance came immediately from the FDP.

Although the mandatory supporters softened their motion in the face of increasingly poor prospects, it did not get a majority.

In April, the coalition had been at work less than six months before the chancellor had already experienced that one could not fully rely on one's own ranks on an important issue.

To a certain extent, this also applied to the mega-topic of war.

From the ranks of the Greens and the FDP, Scholz has long been accused of being hesitant when it comes to delivering heavy weapons to Ukraine as quickly as possible.

Scholz was considerably annoyed by this.

However, the leaders of the Greens and FDP never allowed themselves to attack the chancellor on this issue.

The leading Greens made their pioneer in the weapons issue, the European Committee Chairman Anton Hofreiter, look more like a lonely cowboy who added a notch to his imaginary Colt after every attack on Scholz.