The Greens and the SPD are trying to turn the debate around the abuse of the state in the nuclear phase-out. They are directly threatening the Union. She is now faced with a risky decision.

Scandal or not? Deceived the population or not? Abuse of officials or not? In the Bundestag it is about coming to terms with the unclear circumstances surrounding the final nuclear phase-out, when the last speaker surprisingly makes a massive threat:

There were “dirty deals” in the gas and oil deals of the past, says Andreas Audretsch. And if it was about Germany’s energy history, about its dependence on Russia and other authoritarian states, then he was looking forward to “coming to terms with” it. And if the Union now wants new nuclear power plants – the CDU decided this at its most recent party conference, the CSU boss was already in favor of it – then he is already looking forward to “the debate in the election campaign”.

Andreas Audretsch is a tough dog in parliamentary debates. The Green parliamentary group vice-president is experienced at turning accusations directed at the federal government into accusations directed at the Union. Sometimes it’s clumsy and sounds like yesterday’s “whataboutism.” But sometimes Audretsch gets a point.

Basically, the Greens and SPD are offering the Union – and also the FDP – a double bet that is risky for them:

In any case, the Greens have prepared themselves well for such an election battle, for example with this information given by Robert Habeck in the Bundestag: Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of the CDU, shut down eleven nuclear power plants during her term in office. The traffic light only closed for three. Julia Verlinden from the Greens counters the accusation by parliamentary group vice-president Jens Spahn that the Greens’ unconditional adherence to the nuclear power legacy is a “legacy from Trittin”, the Green ex-environment minister who was embarrassingly honored by Merkel in particular for the Union: The nuclear phase-out is actually a “Merkel’s heir”. Historically, both are true.

Environment Minister Lemke says that allowing nuclear power plants to run longer than the three months more, which was decided under pressure from the FDP with the Chancellor’s directive authority, would have resulted in “compromises in safety”, plus: the companies would not have accepted liability for continued operation for years , the state would have had to take over that. What could not have been expected of the citizens. The Greens have a sensitive point here.

This also applies to a new version of nuclear power. The investments would be worth billions, which would make nuclear power very expensive, and even then it would hardly work without “state liability”. And another, possibly decisive argument: Lemke says that there was a cross-party consensus on the nuclear phase-out, which is also socio-politically important for such an important issue. There would definitely not be such a consensus in the event of a re-entry as desired by the Union and possibly the FDP – the left side would not go along with it. Not even in the case of the development of new technologies such as small reactors (SMR). Or nuclear fusion. Plus:

German energy companies are unlikely to be allies in a return to nuclear power. RWE CEO Markus Krebber has publicly stated that, in his opinion, nuclear power has finally been eliminated in Germany. The board has been strategically transforming his company into a leading renewable energy company for some time now. German companies would pay dearly for a nuclear-friendly government to return to nuclear power.

The reason for the debate in the Bundestag are the allegations that the federal government, under the leadership of the two Green ministers Habeck and Lemke, deceived the public. By giving the impression that the nuclear phase-out was objective and not ideological. And the files from the ministries were deliberately manipulated. The “open-ended review” promised by Habeck never took place.

This is not only the opinion of the Union, which is therefore considering a parliamentary committee of inquiry, but also – once again explosive for the traffic light coalition – also of the FDP. She says it would have been honest if the two Green ministers had said from the start: “We are doing everything for Germany’s security of supply – except for nuclear power plants.”

Habeck and Lemke did not manage to put the allegations to rest. Maybe they didn’t want to do it at all. They chose attack as the best defense. Now the ball is back in the Union’s court. She has to answer this question: Even if she succeeds in proving green state abuse in the nuclear phase-out, how much might be left hanging on her because of her dependence on Russia? And: Will a nuclear power renaissance in a year’s time still be an attractive topic with which to win elections?

Not an easy decision.