Wednesday, June 16

German Greens choose a moderate path to rekindle electoral hopes | Germany

Germany’s Greens leaders will resist the push from party activists this weekend to adopt more ambitious climate policies, balancing their environmental message carefully to ensure poorer voters do not run out of money after the September elections. .

The Greens, aiming to win the chancery for the first time in the federal elections on September 26, surpassed the Christian Democrats (CDU) of outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel in polls in late April after electing Annalena Baerbock as your candidate for chancellor.

Baerbock, a 40-year-old London School of Economics alumnus and mother of two, intrigued voters with her proposal for a “fresh start”, only for the Greens to be shocked by her admission that she did not declare a bonus pay last year. , the suggestion by party co-leader Robert Habeck that Germany should hand over arms to Ukraine, and the party’s plans to raise gasoline prices.

A poll published on the eve of the conference highlighted the problem. While the CDU gained 5 percentage points to 28%, the Greens fell 6 points to 20%.

Less than a week after having to modify some details of her online resume, support for Baerbock decreased 12 percentage points from the previous month, and only 16% of those surveyed said they would vote for her if they could elect a chancellor. directly.

“We all make mistakes. We have paid dearly for ours in the polls, but now it’s about doing better and it’s not just about me, but how together we can change this country,” Baerbock told ARD television when asked about the latest survey.

The fuel price debate has left Baerbock and Habeck eager to show “social balance” on the electoral platform to be agreed this weekend and to project restraint and maturity in their attempt to reignite their shaky campaign.

“Climate protection does not exist for free, that should come as no surprise now. The key is that it is socially cushioned, ”said Danyal Bayaz, finance minister for the Greens in the southwestern state of Baden-Wuerttemberg.

The upshot is that leadership will resist a motion to increase the CO2 rate for oil and gas, for example, to € 80 (£ 68) a tonne in 2022, instead of the € 60 in 2023 proposed by the high-ranking party officials. Leaders will also emphasize that revenues from the higher price of CO2 would be channeled to the poorest people.

Germany’s ruling coalition introduced a carbon levy on transportation and heating fuels, starting at € 25 per tonne of CO2, this year. Current plans would see it rise to € 55-65 per tonne by 2026, but most parties have said a more ambitious path is needed to reach new climate targets.

The three-day party congress begins on Friday and leaders are confident that they will prevail in the debate on CO2 prices.

The Greens, whose membership has risen from about 60,000 four years ago to 115,000 now, suffered a severe blow from the Conservatives in Sunday’s regional elections, but remain within a few points of their main rivals.

“The Greens will still go through a lot of storms,” ​​publicist Albrecht von Lucke told Reuters. “Many citizens want the Greens in the next government, but not necessarily in the chancellery.”

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