Of course, Ricarda Lang downplays the federal political significance of the exploratory talks between the CDU and the Greens in North Rhine-Westphalia. “This is not about the future of the federal government,” said the Green Party leader on Monday.

But it is not for nothing that the NRW election is considered a small federal election. However, the impact of the events in Düsseldorf was always felt in Berlin – and this is the case again. With Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst, an up-and-coming politician has established himself in the front row of the CDU, the influence of the Greens in the Bundesrat continues to grow, the SPD and FDP have to lick their wounds. Above all, however, the black-green project, on which so much work had been done before the last federal election, is experiencing a new impetus.

If the negotiations in Düsseldorf succeed, around 35 million people in North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Baden-Württemberg will soon be represented by black-green or green-black state governments. The alliances between Greens and Conservatives have proved surprisingly stable.

In Hesse, both parties are already governing together in the second legislature, and although the coalition only has a one-vote majority, this is relatively easy. In Baden-Württemberg, Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) has also pushed for a continuation of the Kiwi coalition. After initial hesitation, even the left wing of the party in the state, which had campaigned for a traffic light, is now satisfied with the renewed alliance with the CDU.

The alliance of former enemy images offers great opportunities. Both can make their points in government. The CDU can distinguish itself on the issues of internal security and the economy, the Greens on climate protection and social justice. In the traffic light, the roles are less clearly distributed. The SPD and the Greens don’t treat themselves very much, both courting left-wing clientele. The FDP lives in constant fear of being ignored.

However, it is a balancing act for the Greens, who want to permanently establish themselves as the third force. If they want to keep the black-green project (or vice versa) as an option in the federal government, the leadership must prepare their base for it and keep channels of communication open. At the same time, she must work loyally in the federal traffic light. The Green Party’s tightrope communication has only just begun.