The German Green Party convention showed a government party trying to cope with several hot topic that its base may not agree upon, with vice chancellor and economy minister Robert Habeck almost getting a no confidence vote by his part over migration policies.
The four-day convention in the German city of Karlsruhe had a big attendance, with around 4,000 visitors. There were several issues up for discussion, from migration to budget.
The most contentious debate was on migration and asylum policies. The young wing of the party, known as the Green Youth, the Greens compromised too much during their current spell in the coalition government with the centre-left Social Democrats (SPD) and the neo-liberal Free Democrats (FDP). The Green Youth labelled as “sham solutions” the decisions made by the government, claiming that if the party was in the opposition it would strongly condemned them.
Habeck in his speech held the line, reminding fellow party members that the party conference “is not a game” and denounced what he saw as possible calls to quit the coalition. He spoke also of the current budget woes that he has to oversee as economy minister.
Recently his plans got a setback when the Constitutional Court vetoed the government’s plan to use €60 billion of COVID funds on climate change measures. Habeck was critical of the so-called debt brake system, saying that it wasn’t appropriate anymore. He compared it to going to the boxing ring after tying the hands behind the back. In his view, the government should get rid of those pulls and help German companies in investing in future technology. The debt brake law has been in place since 2009 and Habeck suggested to keep it only for current year matters, leaving future investments outside of the realm of the law.
Despite the defiance from the youth wing, overall the Green leadership still retains the support of the party base, due also to the difficult situation the country and the government is facing. Habeck speech was received to thunderous applause by the 825 delegates that were listening.