Die CDU campaigns for incentives and new technologies to bring together more climate protection and a renewal of industry in Germany. “We want the topic of economy, energy and climate to be understood as a holistic, as a unified topic,” said party leader Friedrich Merz on Saturday after a CDU board meeting in Weimar. The governing body decided on a statement with several proposals. Merz made it clear that building new nuclear power plants is not part of it. After the loss of power in the federal government, the CDU wants to reposition itself on several issues in 2023.
Merz emphasized: “We want and must remain an industrial country.” Problems can be overcome primarily with market-based instruments, not always with more regulation. The “Weimar Declaration” states: “Without climate protection, our economy cannot remain competitive, but without a competitive economy there can be no sustainable climate protection either.” Climate neutrality cannot be achieved by avoiding CO2 emissions alone, they also have to be stored and be used. Merz promoted a “CO2 circular economy” similar to waste recycling.
The relaunch of the energy course did not go entirely smoothly. Merz said he specifically asked for an intensive discussion to take place. “And that’s what we did.” A half-sentence in a draft of the declaration, which also called “an unprejudiced examination of the construction of new nuclear power plants of the most modern generation”, caused irritation at times. Merz also expressly made it clear: “We are not in favor of building new nuclear power plants.” In the adopted declaration, the CDU advocates “the continuation of research and development of next-generation nuclear energy”.
Merz: “The Turkish baker on Sonnenallee” is also affected by riots
The content of the start of the year for the CDU was also somewhat overshadowed by the hot topic of migration – and this was fueled by the CDU itself. After the New Year’s Eve riots in the capital, the campaigning Berlin Union caused a stir with a catalog of questions in which they also asked for the first names of suspects with German nationality . Merz himself then introduced the formula of “little pashas” into the debate about integration problems in schools.
The balance of the migration course and the tone of voice are being discussed in the party, and critical internal comments were also in Weimar listen. Merz spoke of “two or three requests to speak” and that there was “no discussion at all on the subject”. There was a will, which he absolutely shares, that people who have been living in Germany for decades should not be treated the same as those “who cannot behave and do not want to behave”. That is exactly what he said himself. “So the Turkish baker on Sonnenallee in Berlin is just as affected by these riots as everyone else.”
In general, after the loss of power in the federal government, the CDU also wants to “bring up to date” on other issues, as Merz calls it. This year, preparations for a new basic program are to progress, which are to be decided in 2024. The current one is from 2007. One focus was now on economic policy, in which the CDU sees its competence dwindling. However, repositioning should also be about social issues such as pensions. Opinions from the base are to be obtained by means of a questionnaire sent to all members in March. Secretary General Mario Czaja is planning four regional conferences leading to a federal convention on June 16th and 17th in Berlin.
For Merz, who has been party chairman for a year at the end of January, 2023 will also bring mood tests in three state elections: After the repetition of the parliamentary elections in Berlin on February 12, also in Bremen and Hesse, where the new Prime Minister Boris Rhein wants to defend a CDU stronghold. Merz likes to refer to federal surveys in which the Union leads and clearly distances itself from the SPD Chancellor’s Party. The CDU and CSU currently come to 27 percent in the ZDF “Politbarometer”, which, according to Merz, can still be expanded. In the 2021 federal election, the CDU fell into the opposition with the worst Union result of 24.1 percent after 16 years as Chancellor of Angela Merkel (CDU).