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02 Mar 2021, 13:03
Benjamin Wehrmann

Germany's only Green state premier says conservatives copy his policies

The only state premier from the Green Party in Germany, Winfried Kretschmann from Baden-Wurttemberg, says the state's conservative CDU party has largely adopted his own party's stance on many environmental topics to lure away potential Green voters at the upcoming state elections on 14 March. Kretschmann, who governs the wealthy and highly industrialised state in the country's Southwest since 2011, said in an interview with newspaper Tageszeitung (taz) that "What they say is purely Kretschmann." The election programme of the state's CDU, the party of Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Greens’ smaller coalition partner in the state, to a large extent borrows from Kretschmann's approach to government that seeks to combine emissions reduction with economic success through innovative companies selling green technology, the 72-year-old politician said. "The difference is that I have been implementing this for ten years, now the CDU finally is waking up to it," Kretschmann argued. "This is not a bad thing, it's just that it is not their own idea," he added.

Kretschmann said his state had "a green-thinking population" and joining forces with the strong industry and civil society there would be the best way forward to thrive politically in Baden-Wurttemberg. Asked about criticism by climate activist groups like Fridays for Future (FfF) that his government is pandering too much to industry interests and does not pursue a rigorous emissions reduction policy aiming to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, he said this amounted to "impatience of the youth" and that "the fight against climate change didn't start with FfF." While the activists were right that climate action measures should be implemented faster, successful policy making also meant that things take time and need a lot of preparation, Kretschmann said.

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