Party conference: Top Greens warn against austerity measures and attack Merz

The Greens started their federal party conference with sharp attacks on opposition leader Friedrich Merz (CDU).

Party conference: Top Greens warn against austerity measures and attack Merz

The Greens started their federal party conference with sharp attacks on opposition leader Friedrich Merz (CDU). “People, you are not even capable of opposition,” party leader Omid Nouripour shouted at the Union in Karlsruhe. "It can't be the case that an opposition wants the government's defeat more than the country's success," he said, referring to the satisfaction of the CDU/CSU after their successful constitutional lawsuit against the budget policy of the traffic light coalition made up of the SPD, Greens and FDP.

Economics Minister Robert Habeck declared that the CDU under Friedrich Merz was a "party of yesterday, led by a chairman of the day before yesterday." Leipzig member of the Bundestag Paula Piechotta warned: "A future under Merz, as you know very well, would be a future in the past." At previous party conferences there had been significantly more criticism of the coalition partner FDP - now the party prefers to fight against the CDU and CSU.

"We disrupt the middle because we are the middle"

“We will find solutions,” promised Nouripour. “Saving to waste is not possible.” Among other things, a functioning hydrogen network and charging infrastructure for electric cars are needed. Investments are necessary for all of this. “Of course we have to reform the debt brake,” emphasized the party leader. This will no longer meet the challenges. He thanked Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) for suspending it for the current year. "Thank you very much for that!"

Nouripour said the Greens' participation in government had had an impact; the party had "achieved an incredible amount." The energy transition is now irreversible. The Greens are being attacked from many sides. Habeck said: "We disturb in the middle because we are in the middle."

Nouripour recalled National Socialism and appealed: "It must be our mission to ensure that police cars no longer have to stand in front of synagogues in this country." He called for the release of the hostages in the hands of Hamas and emphasized his sympathy for the suffering of the people of Gaza, for which he held Hamas responsible. At the same time, the people who suffered from Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine should not be forgotten.

Habeck calls for a “contemporary update of the debt brake”

Economics Minister Habeck explained that the party conference was taking place in “a time of uncertainty and insecurity”. He added: "Germany is under pressure and everyone is feeling it." Ukraine must continue to be supported by Germany “with weapons, with money, with reconstruction.”

“I am for the debt brake,” asserted Habeck. But as rigid as the debt rules were once constructed, they no longer fit the current times of multiple crises. What is now needed is “a contemporary update of the debt brake”.

The deputy federal chairwoman, Pegah Edalatian, promised at the beginning: "We take responsibility where others duck away. We lead debates where others shy away." When it comes to Israel, however, the Federal Executive Board probably preferred to play it safe. A motion from the Federal Executive Board entitled “Solidarity with Israel: For Peace, Against Hatred and Terror” was scheduled to be voted on later in the evening. Unlike other debates, no speakers were chosen here.

A speech by Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock and contributions from two external speakers were expected on the Middle East conflict. It is important that there is a “sign of solidarity with Israel, also a clear signal on the issue of anti-Semitism,” said the political director of the Green Party, Emily Büning. It was decided “not to make any further contributions to the debate”.

Kretschmann on asylum reform: “This is the right course”

A debate on migration policy that was originally scheduled for Thursday evening was postponed until Sunday night due to the change in the schedule. Delegate Simon Haack said the Greens must be a party “that fights for humanity.” Because some of the people who voted for the Greens “also vote for us because our migration policy sets itself apart from the isolation narrative.”

In his speech, Baden-Württemberg's Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann certified that his party had "passed the reality check" with regard to various policy areas. He urged them to make politics for the whole country and not just for their own supporters. Regarding the reform of European asylum policy, which is extremely controversial among the Greens, and the decisions of the Prime Minister's Conference, which provide for fewer benefits for asylum seekers, Kretschmann said: "I am convinced that this is the right course."

The 825 Green Party delegates in Karlsruhe also want to fill the six-member federal executive board and other committees by Sunday. Co-chairs Ricarda Lang and Nouripour are both running again. A program is to be adopted in Karlsruhe and a list of candidates drawn up for the European elections next June. The motto of the party conference is “Do what counts”.