Online party conference of the Greens Something is missing.
Status: 02.05.2020 8:13 p.m..
The Greens lost weight in the Corona crisis – but they want to get back into the spotlight. At their digital party congress, the delegates adopted an economic concept that is intended to bring climate protection back to the fore.
By Kristin Joachim, ARD capital studio.
Annalena Baerbock describes how she is sometimes desperate between home office, homeschooling and childcare. She shows emotions, and she is clearly criticizing the current crisis management of the federal government. “Women are bearing the brunt of this crisis and they are becoming more and more invisible.”
Baerbock demands protective equipment, tests and accompanying research in order to reopen daycare centers and schools as soon as possible. At this point, the party leader of the Greens would certainly get a lot of applause from the delegates at a normal party congress.
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No applause, no heckling.
But like so much in Corona times, this party congress is not normal, and therefore there is no applause, but silence. Baerbock is practically speaking into an empty room. The small party congress of the Greens only takes place online.
There is a camera in front of Baerbock, behind it a table with a lot of technology and four News young men who operate it, plus a director, a cameraman from the press and two other employees from the company. Baerbock’s audience sits at home. 95 delegates from all over Germany follow the party congress on their couches at home or are added as speakers from there.
“About as expensive as renting a hall for a real party conference”.
Online party convention: Expensive but lifeless.
“As in sweatpants in a vacuum,” is how Silke Gebel, member of the party congress committee, describes it. Fortunately, there is still a chat room for the delegates. Feedback, comments, exchanges, all of this should take place here.
Of course, this does not replace a real party congress. And the technical effort is great.
The whole thing is about as expensive as renting a hall for a real party conference, says Federal Managing Director Michael Kellner. He organized the entire party congress. All of this is also a political experiment. An experiment and probably also an attempt to draw more attention to the party again. Because in surveys, the Greens have been losing approval since the beginning of the Corona crisis.
In March they were around 23%, now it is only around 16%.
Corona is now.
In the past year, they had managed to drive the federal government to their feet again and again, especially when it came to their hobby, climate policy. The increase in the CO2 entry price from ten to 25 euros is probably the best example of this. Your polls reflected that.
The question of a candidate for chancellor was asked at almost every press conference and every background discussion.
Now nobody asks that question anymore. Now is Corona. The topics of the Greens, climate protection, the sustainable restructuring of the economy, these were not the topics of the hour in the past few weeks.
“Out of the crisis with ecology”
Calm reactions to falling polls.
It is the hour of the executive, it is now said. And that is normal in times of crisis. The Greens seem relaxed.
Danyal Bayaz, member of the finance committee and head of the Green Economic Advisory Council, explains that the past few weeks have not been the time for one’s own initiatives or fundamental criticism. The polls are still acceptable, and with a view to the federal election anyway, they are of limited significance. “Of course that is also a dilemma,” said Bayaz. “Either you accompany the government critically, but objectively and also supportively, if it is appropriate. Or you fall into a shrill tone like Christian Lindner in order to be noticed. That is not our style.”
Stage directions in the party headquarters: The initials of Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck on the floor.
Active opposition is planned again after the crisis.
But: when the acute crisis management has been completed and it is a matter of building and shaping the economy and society in the long term, and of how the economy can get back on its feet, the Greens want to put pressure on their opposition role again and set the direction. It will be about what follows from Corona, says Kellner. “We will debate how we are dealing with the climate crisis in other areas, for example in agriculture. Because it is coming back with all its might, we can already see that.”
Away from the image of the monothematic party.
Like many of the other Greens you talk to these days, he sounds convinced. In which direction these debates should go, shows the key proposal of the federal executive committee, which was passed at the party congress. An ecological and a social steering effect must be linked to the investment programs.
The Greens are making it clear that they are continuing to work to get rid of their one-issue party image and to further sharpen their profile, especially in matters of social justice.
The hardships that the pandemic brings with it for many offer reasons enough: more support for self-employed people, a Corona parental allowance for families in which one parent temporarily cannot earn any money. Hartz IV benefits are also to be increased. The application also provides for an immediate economic stimulus program worth 100 billion euros this year.
This includes, among other things, a fund worth 20 billion euros, which is intended to finance purchase incentives, consumer vouchers and direct grants to help retailers, restaurants and cultural institutions.
Help for “ecological modernization”
Nevertheless, the climate issue remains essential. The Greens want to link direct aid for companies to environmental protection and climate protection goals. Companies that focus on climate protection should not have to repay part of their loans. Party leader Robert Habeck calls it a pact for sustainability, which is to be concluded with the companies. “Aid for industrial companies must serve ecological modernization.
And the prerequisite is that these companies forego bonuses and dividends, and that they make public where and whether they pay taxes or not,” he demands.
At this point too, great applause from the delegates would have been certain. It is clear to everyone that all of this will be very expensive. The Greens want to finance the economic stimulus and investment programs through debt.
They want to reform the debt brake so that such high debts can also be incurred. Interest would currently not have to be paid anyway, according to the party.
Online with a mask: The Greens bosses Annalena Baerbock and Robert Habeck.
Without growth, there will be no deleveraging.
And in order to get out of debt, one must above all focus on growth, says the chairman of the Greens, Anton Hofreiter. Because now the first thing is to save the economy and jobs, only then will there be high tax revenues again in the future. “This requires growth, and in times of the climate crisis that can only be sustainable growth.”
Clear growth, albeit sustainable, will be difficult for some Greens to accept. But it shows again that the Greens are looking for solidarity with the economy or have long since found it. The automotive industry is also explicitly named as a key sector in the lead application. There should also be financial help for them, but only if they serve a traffic turnaround.
A clear rejection of a scrapping premium like 2009.
Common bonds at EU level.
Whether and how wealthy people should be involved in the huge crisis costs remains vague. There should be a solidarity-based balance based on the principle: whoever has strong shoulders can carry more. It doesn’t get any more specific here.
At EU level, however, the Greens are clearly relying on joint bonds, even if Germany would bear a large part of the risks here.
Such a digital party congress is technically possible. But that which defines party congresses above all, passionate verbal battles, naturally fails to materialize. For Michael Kellner it is clear: In the long term, such a digital solution is more for a new member get-together in the province.
And there is definitely a need for the Greens. Only a few days ago the number of members exceeded the 100,000 mark.
Tagesschau reported on this topic on May 2nd, 2020 at 8:00 p.m..