Climate protection measures can find a lot of acceptance

Climate protection measures can find a lot of acceptance

Et was a pause that added to the stress, but it was also instructive from the point of view of Social Democrats and Free Democrats. Chancellor Olaf Scholz, his deputy Robert Habeck and Vice-Chancellor Christian Lindner, who is not provided for in the constitution, had to interrupt the more than thirty-hour deliberations of the German coalition committee for half a day in order to meet their Dutch counterparts in a windowless Rotterdam museum depot.

Patrick Bernau

Responsible editor for economy and “value” of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper.

Ralph Bollman

Correspondent for economic policy and deputy head of business and “Money & More” for the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sunday newspaper in Berlin.

At first glance, this might seem something completely different, an unwelcome change after a full night’s sleep. But it was not like that. The domestic political experiences of which the Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte and his ministers reported outside the official agenda had a lot to do with the issues that the German coalition politicians were brooding over before and after in the Berlin Chancellery.

Just two weeks had passed since the Dutch provincial elections, which gave the Hague government a real fright: the hitherto rather marginal Citizens’ and Farmers’ Party suddenly achieved almost 20 percent of the votes, in more rural provinces more than 30 percent, even in the urban north and south South Holland still more than 13 percent.

Almost her only topic: the government’s ambitious climate and environmental protection plans, which are intended to drastically reduce nitrate emissions from domestic intensive agriculture. In the densely populated country, which nevertheless exports more agricultural products than only the United States of America, for many this is tantamount to an attack on an entire model of life.

Berliners do not want to become climate-neutral sooner

In Germany, Westphalian pig farmers do not have comparable influence, but they do have house builders and car drivers. And there are not so few of them, even in Berlin. The referendum to make the city climate-neutral by 2030 failed the previous weekend. Many had expected that the initiative would lack yes votes. But the fact that more than 400,000 Berliners would make their way to the polling station to vote no left a lasting impression. And then came Mark Rutte.

In any case, the returnees from the Netherlands, as reported by negotiators who stayed at home afterwards, were quite impressed: What if the ban on fossil fuel heating or the all too brash departure from individual mobility in the German party landscape should one day trigger similar upheavals as the planned agricultural turnaround in the neighboring country ?

This time the Greens are alone

Because that’s what the Berlin negotiation marathon was all about. The Greens in particular had misjudged the situation in advance. For a long time, the party, which could also form an alliance with the CDU at any time, believed it was in a strong position in the Berlin traffic light alliance: first the cuddly selfies with the FDP, then great agreement with the SPD on many issues, and finally Habeck’s management of the gas crisis. When it comes to their core issue, climate policy, the situation is different.

For a long time, the eco-party did not really understand what the chancellor meant by “respect”, his magic word from the 2021 election campaign. It is also the respect for commuters in the countryside or in the outskirts of Berlin, where the nearest subway station is not on the doorstep, for people with their own small home or apartment, where replacing the heating does not seem as trivial as in Low-energy house of the green root voter from Swabia. And to workers in industry who don’t see retraining as a nurse as a promise.

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