"Disrespect stands above this chancellorship," said Merz to the applause of the delegates. The CDU chairman also accused the members of the traffic light coalition of disrespectful behavior because they were not present at the recent speech by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Merz criticized that this was a degree of disrespect for the highest office in Germany that he would not have thought possible.
The CDU leader was greeted with much applause by the CSU delegates. After the quarrels about Armin Laschet's (CDU) failed chancellor candidacy last year, Merz and CSU chairman Markus Söder sought to close ranks at the party conference.
A year like 2021 will not be repeated between the CDU and CSU, said Merz. At that time, the Union received the answer to its ongoing disputes with the election defeat. "It wasn't because the others were so good. It was because we weren't good enough anymore." Merz called on the CDU and CSU to unite in the future. "We are unbeatable when we stick together."
A contentious issue in 2021 was that Söder did not become a candidate for chancellor. In the Phoenix broadcaster, Söder ruled out trying again. "A Bavarian Prime Minister and CSU chairman who moves a lot in Germany, you always have to reckon with him, but not for a chancellor candidacy." Söder wants to focus on the upcoming state elections in Bavaria in a year.
The opposition leader also accused Scholz of breaking his promises that he would now strengthen the Bundeswehr. The chancellor is doing the opposite of what he announced at the end of February, when he promised massive investments in the Bundeswehr shortly after Russia's attack on Ukraine. In fact, the defense budget is now being cut. Merz called on the CDU and CSU to stand by the German soldiers "without ifs or buts".
With regard to immigration policy, the CDU leader defended the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) against criticism. He refuses to constantly have to defend himself against allegations for “these horrible 16 years”, said Merz.
Thanks to many good decisions under Merkel, Germany has become the country with the most qualified immigrants in relation to the population, after the USA. "The last 16 years were not the problem, the last 16 weeks are the problem with this government that we have in office," said Merz.
He called on the traffic light coalition to prepare for significant problems in view of the increasing number of refugees. The federal government must ensure that there are no so-called pull effects - i.e. an increased attraction - of refugees. Merz said the Union would not shake hands with any policy that would legalize illegal migration to Germany.