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Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany

On Tuesday the German coalition government agreed to ban fracking for shale gas indefinitely.

According to Thomas Oppermann, head of the Social Democrats parliamentary group, the German parliament must reassess the legislation in 2021 to determine if the decision if still valid.

According to officials who spoke to Reuters, test drilling will be allowed under the compromise, but only with the permission of the respective state government.

If the ban is approved by Germany’s parliament, the country will follow in France’s footsteps, which has a total ban on fracking.

Britain, on the other hand, allows fracking subject to strict environmental and safety guidelines.

The ban comes after years of tension around the issue, and environmental groups said the ban did not go far enough and vowed to fight the deal.

Last year, a parliamentary vote on similar legislation stalled because of disagreements between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats and the left Social Democrats.

Critics of the law, Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND), say that by setting a future date review, the coalition has basically agreed to allow fracking in five years.

“The coalition’s agreement on a fracking permission law is hair-raising. The law must be stopped and replaced with a true fracking ban,” said BUND head Hubert Weiger.