With black and green it should now go very quickly. In North Rhine-Westphalia, the eleven-member delegations from the CDU and Greens, led by the CDU election winner and Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst and the Greens’ state leader Mona Neubaur, are already meeting in Düsseldorf this Wednesday. A historic project. It would be the first alliance between the CDU and the Greens in the most populous federal state.
On Monday evening in Kiel, Schleswig-Holstein’s Prime Minister Daniel Günther also appeared in front of the press and informed that the CDU state executive had unanimously voted in favor of the Greens as a partner for the next five years. It’s the first time the conservatives have skipped a power option with the liberals.
Only around 18 hours later, the CDU and the Greens in the north are already one step further. The party leaders have drawn up a three-page exploratory paper, the top priorities are climate protection and the acceleration of planning and approval processes. Coalition talks are set to begin as early as this Wednesday.
If both negotiations succeed, it would be the black-green alliances three and four after Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Around 38 million people in Germany would now have state governments made up of CDU and Greens – a new center of power alongside the traffic light government in Berlin.
For a long time, politicians from the CDU and the Greens viewed each other as representatives of different spheres. Politicians from both parties only came closer in 1995 in the Pizzeria Sassella in Bonn. Later top politicians such as Peter Altmaier, Armin Laschet, Norbert Röttgen (all CDU), Cem Özdemir, Steffi Lemke and later also Katrin Göring-Eckardt (all Greens) exchanged ideas in the legendary pizza connection.
After the Red-Green years and the failed soundings between the Union and the Greens in 2013, the Pizza Connection 2.0 or Pasta Connection – initiated by Jens Spahn (CDU) and the current Green Party chairman Omid Nouripour – was reactivated in Berlin.
In view of the election victories in the federal states and increasing surveys at the federal level, black-green or green-black seem increasingly realistic options. The constellation is attractive for both sides. In the medium term, the Union does not seem to get a majority with the FDP alone; for the Greens, choosing their partners is a comfortable basis for negotiation.
Emily Büning, political director of the Greens, sees no impairment of the traffic light in black and green: “It is not unusual for different government constellations to arise depending on the federal state and situation.” For the party left and former spokeswoman for the Green Youth, coalitions with the CDU no longer taboo. “It’s a changed situation where three parties can get similar results. This allows us to talk to the CDU on an equal footing,” she says. The time in the camps has been overcome, and a coalition is not a love marriage. “We are concerned with pragmatic alliances in which we can implement our topics.”
But not everyone in her party sees it that way. The Green Youth in North Rhine-Westphalia warns of the conservatives in a press release: “It was the CDU in the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia that attracted particular attention because of its regression and standstill.”
The FDP, on the other hand, is frustrated that coalitions with the CDU are no longer enough. A continuation of black and yellow is not possible in NRW, in Schleswig-Holstein Günther has now opposed a possible last conservative-liberal alliance. “I regret that the FDP in North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein cannot continue their successful government work,” says General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai. His party had not succeeded in working out its own handwriting. The performance of the FDP in the federal government is not responsible for the defeats. “It was above all state political issues and actors that shaped the election campaigns.”
Djir-Sarai has seen for himself what it means to lose massively in government. From 2009 to 2013 he was a young member of the Bundestag and experienced first-hand how the Liberals came into government with the Union with a whopping 14.9 percent. Four years later, his party was punished, the FDP failed at the five percent hurdle, Djir-Sarai was thrown out of parliament and went on to work for a municipal IT service provider.
The 45-year-old learned two lessons from this time. “We are not the paperback edition of the CDU.” The FDP now has more coalition options and has become more independent. The traffic light is proof of that.
The second lesson: “Every partner in a government must be able to push through issues and make their own points.” For the FDP, he has so far included the federal government’s corona policy, the clear positioning on solidarity with Ukraine and the nine -Euro ticket that FDP Transport Minister Volker Wissing has now launched.
Djir-Sarai somewhat evaded the question of whether he was satisfied with what he had achieved at the traffic light. It’s too early to take stock, it’s still important to balance interests: “A traffic light that’s constantly flashing green will produce a lot of accidents.”