Seed World

Snapshot: Germany’s Political Future

New German Coalition agreement to impact Eurozone’s largest economy

By. Dr. Carl-Stephan Schäfer and Ulrike Amoruso-Eickhorn

After 10 weeks of intensive work following the German elections of 26 Sept. 2021, the coalition agreement for the legislative period through 2025 was finalized. The parties that make up the coalition, the SPD, the Greens and the FDP, accepted the 177-page agreement entitled Dare to Progress, Alliance for Freedom, Justice and Sustainability.

In total, the federal cabinet with Chancellor Olaf Scholz consists of nine men and eight women. Below is information on the ministries most important for the seed sector, and relevant highlights of the coalition agreement.

  • Economy and Climate Protection, Robert Habeck, Vice-Chancellor. In the future there will be a Ministry for Economy and Climate Protection with a focus on transforming the economy toward climate neutrality.
  • Environment, Steffi Lemke, Minister for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. The guiding principles for this ministry are the 17 Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations.
  • Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Minister for Education and Research. The coalition agreement emphasises the importance of strong science and research as guarantors of prosperity, quality of life, social cohesion, and a sustainable society.
  • Food and Agriculture – Cem Özedmir, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture. The focus is on an agriculture, with the goals of environmental protection and resource conservation (organic farming), as well as great emphasis on animal welfare and biodiversity.

However, it is not surprising that the coalition agreement sees the fight against the coronavirus pandemic as the most urgent task. Other overarching issues of importance are: tackling the climate crisis, global competition, the changing way of doing business through digitalisation, and demographic change in Germany.


Ulrike Amoruso-Eickhorn

Innovation is a primary focus of the coalition agreement. The coalition will promote technological, digital, social, and sustainable innovative strength. In addition, better framework conditions for higher education, science and research are proposed to make science more creative and competitive. The coalition sees freedom of science and research as the key to creative ideas to overcome the great challenges of our time.

Additionally, universities and universities of applied sciences (HAW) are to be strengthened as the heart of the science system. Innovation and transfer from basic research to application will be promoted and accelerated.

The share of total government expenditure on research and development will increase to 3.5 per cent of GDP by 2025.


In the area of research, the focus for the future rallies around climate, climate impacts, biodiversity, sustainability, the earth system and corresponding adaptation strategies, and a sustainable agricultural and food system. Also covered is technological sovereignty and the potential of digitalization, e.g., in artificial intelligence and quantum technology, for data-based solutions across all sectors. It is also interesting that the opportunities offered by biotechnological (and medical) processes focus on the health sector. However, this narrow focus is partially dissolved in other places and Germany hopes to become the leader in international biotechnology.

In sum, the coalition attached great importance to future technologies, and relevant research is to be brought together in European alliances to a greater extent than to date. Research will be conducted in all areas of biotechnology.


Another goal is to bolster application-oriented research and transfer in order to create and strengthen regional and supraregional innovation ecosystems. A new agency will be founded to promote social and technological innovations. The untapped potential that lies in numerous research data is to be used more effectively for innovative ideas. Access to research data for public and private research should be comprehensively improved with a Research Data Act, and research clauses are to be introduced. Open Access is to be established as a common standard. The coalition wants to work towards a more science-friendly copyright law. The coalition agreement describes basic research as the foundation of government research funding.

Regarding climate protection, the coalition emphasises the need for an economic awakening after the COVID-19 crisis. Germany’s economic strength and prosperity will continue to lie in the diversity of industry, small and medium-sized enterprises, crafts, trade, and services.


The coalition sees the protection of the environment and nature as an essential component of political action, and the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are the guiding principles for future policy. In particular, the fight against species extinction demands high attention and political action. The coalition has set itself the goal of ensuring sustainable, future-proof agriculture in which farmers can operate in an economically viable manner and which does justice to the environment, animals, and the climate. The coalition also aims to reinforce regional value chains to preserve rural structures.


Within the framework of the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD), the new federal government will work in the spirit of the European Biodiversity Strategy to achieve 30 per cent protected areas and to protect them. Nationally, the National Biodiversity Strategy (NBS) action plans, concrete targets and measures will be further developed and anchored in a binding manner with scientific monitoring fortified.

European nature conservation law is implemented one-to-one. Contractual nature conservation will be significantly increased to encourage nature conservation measures above legal minimum standards. This is to include opportunities for regional leeway and flexible solutions (such as the Dutch strategy) will be created. The coalition will advocate consistent insect protection, significantly reduce the use of plant protection products and promote the development of natural- and environmental-friendly alternatives.

[tweetshare tweet=”The German coalition wants to ensure sustainable, future-proof agriculture in which farmers can operate in an economically viable manner and which does justice to the environment, animals, and the climate.” username=”eyJtZDUiOnRydWV9″]


The new federal government wants to consistently develop the Climate Protection Act before the end of 2022 and launch an immediate climate protection programme with all the necessary laws, ordinances, and measures. Climate protection will be made by cross-cutting tasks by the respective ministry in charge of examining its draft laws for their climate impact and compatibility with the national climate protection goals and providing a corresponding justification (climate check). All sectors will have to contribute transport, construction and housing, power generation, industry and agriculture.


The area of agriculture and food occupies a small part of the coalition agreement with only five pages. Species extinction and the loss of biodiversity are considered another ecological crisis. The use of plant protection products is to be limited to just what is necessary. This will be achieved with the following measures:

  • Organic farming is to reach 30 per cent by 2030.
  • Integrated plant protection is to be supplemented, and research and promotion are to be supported.
  • The authorization of plant protection products must be transparent and legally secure, based on scientific criteria.
  • Establishment of alternatives to chemical-synthetic plant protection products (biologicals, low risks, plant strengthening agents, physical, biological, cultivation methods, robotics, drones, digitalisation, forecasting models, etc.) and improvement of the associated processes.
  • Breeding climate robust plant varieties should be supported. To this end, the framework conditions for population varieties should also be improved. Model projects such as crowd-breeding and digitalisation are also to be promoted. Furthermore, transparency on breeding methods is to be created and risk and detection research boosted.

The current architecture of the European agricultural policy is to be reviewed by the middle of the legislative period at the latest and adapted to achieve the objectives.


A new nutrition strategy is to be adopted by 2023. One element is that the new government wants to strengthen plant-based alternatives and advocate for the approval of innovations such as alternative protein sources and meat substitutes in the EU.

According to the coalition, renewable energies are in the public interest and serve the security of supply. In weighing up the interests to be protected, the coalition advocates giving priority to renewable energies for a limited period of time until climate neutrality is achieved. Legal certainty in species protection law is to be created, among other things through the application of a uniform nationwide assessment method in the assessment of species protection in wind energy projects.


The new federal government is clearly committed to the European Union. It sees a democratically stronger, more capable and strategically more sovereign European Union as the basis for our peace, prosperity and freedom. Within this framework, the issues of climate change, digitalisation and the preservation of democracy are to be tackled. Such an EU remains committed to a multilateral and rule-based world order and is oriented towards the United Nations SDGs.

From our point of view, it is an important signal that the autonomy of the Ministry of Agriculture in combination with the food sector is maintained. An integration into the Ministry of the Environment would not have done justice to the importance of the agriculture sector.

[tweetshare tweet=”It would have been desirable for the German coalition agreement to contain more statements on plant breeding.” username=”eyJtZDUiOnRydWV9″]


The coalition agreement commits to an innovation-stimulating strategy, which is positive. It is recognized that strengthening sustainability and ecology must go hand-in-hand with an efficient economy characterised by small and medium-sized enterprises. However, it would have been desirable for the coalition agreement to contain more statements on plant breeding.

We see this, above all, against the background of the report of the Commission on the Future of Agriculture (ZKL) appointed by the previous federal government, which repeatedly emphasises the central importance of plant breeding. Nevertheless, it is clear that breeding is system-immanent for the desired and rapidly implemented transformation process of our economic system and agriculture in Germany. The signals on future research funding for breeding research (e.g., in data science) indicate a progressive perspective and encourage us in the BDP to establish contacts with the new government and to actively formulate our expectations for the current legislative period.

Editor’s Note: Dr. Carl-Stephan Schäfer is Executive Director and Ulrike Amoruso-Eickhorn is Head of Communication and Strategy at the German Seed Association BDP.

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