CDU leader Friedrich Merz and CSU leader Markus Söder demonstrated a new solidarity after the historic disaster of the Union in the federal election. On Saturday at the CDU party conference in Hanover, Söder admitted to the applause of the delegates that mistakes had been made last year, "of course also by me". After his speech, Merz told the Bavarian Prime Minister that they work and fight well together, in a friendly and trusting manner. "We're closed like never before," emphasized Merz.
Quite a few in the CDU give Söder some responsibility for the failure in the federal election because of his ongoing taunts against the then CDU leader and Union Chancellor candidate Armin Laschet in the 2021 election campaign. With its historically worst result of 24.1 percent after 16 years in government of Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), the Union fell into the opposition.
Söder praises the CDU
Söder said in front of the delegates: "I know 2021 was not our best year." At the same time he assured: "We have learned from it." The restart in 2022 “not only went better than the left had hoped”. The cooperation in the parliamentary group and party "especially with your chairman, dear Friedrich, is going excellently, better than we both would have expected." It is an open secret in the Union that the relationship between Merz and Söder was not always the best.
The CSU boss flattered the CDU delegates right at the beginning of his speech and said he could bring the warm greetings to "the little sister CSU". He followed the party congress with respect. The CDU meeting was "a great signal of determination and unity". It suits the Union "if we join hands, if we stand together".
Merz warned that he and Söder "have a responsibility for the entire Union, which we fill and exercise with different functions". Every effort will be made to "maintain and expand these commonalities and to show that we really together, the CDU and CSU, are number one in Germany and will remain so beyond 2022," said Merz against the background of surveys, who see the Union ahead of the SPD and the Greens. A year before the Bavarian state elections, he added that with the cooperation one draws on "an electoral potential that one cannot achieve against one another or with one party alone".
Application for a joint Union Council before the funeral?
Against the will of the JU, the party conference had previously referred an application by the CDU offspring from the Junge Union to the creation of a joint Union Council of the CDU and CSU to the party presidency. This should now discuss the topic with the CSU. Among other things, the JU wanted to ensure that after the power struggle between Söder and Laschet, the selection of the next chancellor candidate would be prepared in the committee. JU boss Tilman Kuban had warned that a transfer would be tantamount to burying the application.
Union offers traffic light cooperation
Merz and Söder again offered the federal government their willingness to cooperate in view of the energy crisis. There is a dispute about the details, "but it is also necessary to work together in such a difficult time," said Merz. If the federal government does not accept this offer, "it is solely their responsibility". Merz recently accused Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) of a lack of communication and cooperation with the Union. Söder said: "Dear traffic lights, get help from people who understand crises." He had previously accused the government of being haphazard in the energy crisis.