German Christian Democrats and Social Democrats slip up on climate protection issue

EPP lead candidate Manfred Weber (L) , CDU chairwoman Annegret Kramp- Karrenbauer (C) and CSU leader and Premier of Bavaria Markus Soeder (R) react after the first exit polls in the European elections in Berlin on 26 May 2019. [EPA-EFE/CLEMENS BILAN]

Climate protection played a central role in the results of the European elections. But German Christian Democrats and Social Democrats admit to not having sufficiently appropriated the climate protection issue. EURACTIV Germany reports.

In view of the enormous losses of the German Social Democrats (SPD), their lead candidate Katarina Barley said her party had not made its position on environmental policy sufficiently clear.

According to Barley, climate protection is also a social issue. “But we failed in communicating this to the people, or they were simply not convinced,” she said.

At a press conference of the Christian Democrats (CDU) after the announcement of the first results, CDU’s party leader Annegret-Kramp-Karrenbauer said nothing about environmental policy. She concluded that apparently no convincing answers had been given to the citizens’ questions.

CDU’s deputy chairman, Volker Bouffier, said his party must become much more active on climate protection: “This is an issue that is not typically associated with the CDU,” he said.

The “Infratest Dipmap” survey shows that 88% of Green voters were mainly interested in environmental protection, followed by social security and peace issues.

With the student protests that lasted months, the debates related to ending coal production and protests calling for Hambach forest to not be destroyed, concerns about the environment already helped German Greens achieve significant successes and put pressure on other parties in the state elections in Bavaria and Hesse.

The conservative union of the Christian Democrats and the Christian Social Union (CDU/CSU) was particularly strongly criticised because of its climate policies.

Regarding the EU election results for the German Greens, Robert Habeck, federal chairman of the Greens, spoke of an “incredible result” and a humbling gain in trust.

In Germany, Greens consolidate rising political trend

The Greens from Bündnis90/Die Grünen are the big winners of the European elections in Germany. They nearly doubled their vote to finish second at 21%, ahead of the Social Democrats. Conservatives from the CDU/CSU also lost percentage points but managed to remain Germany’s strongest political force.

[Edited by Zoran Radosavljevic]

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