The German Green Party - Bündnis 90/Die Grünen - held its congress in Berlin last weekend, where delegates decided the party's program for the 2017 Bundestag elections.
The party presented itself as a passionate and united force, and defined its key plans and red-lines for potential coalition negotiations to enter the government. Their most prominent demands include:
- A change of Germany’s approach to the EU. From austerity to more solidarity and sustainability, to massive investments in the ecological modernisation, the digital future and the fight against unemployment, more transparency for citizens and more powers for the European parliament, and no to the ratification of CETA in its current form.
- An immediate shut down of the 20 most polluting coal-fired power plants and the phasing out of coal until 2030.
- The phasing out of combustion engines until 2030.
- An end of industrial livestock farming within the next 20 years.
- A Green family budget of 12 bn.
- Marriage equality for all.
For the first time in its history, the congress was opened by a member of the European Green family, as Jesse Klaver - the leader of the Dutch Green Party, Groenlinks - gave an impassioned speech that affirmed his support to Cem Özdemir and Katrin Göring-Eckardt, the German Greens’ top candidates.
Other prominent guest speakers included Jolanda Yoab, a witness of climate change from Micronesia, the Yazidi human rights activist and 2016 Sakharov prize winner Nadia Murad, the Green Party of Canada leader Elizabeth May, and Carmen Perez, one of the architects of the Women’s March in Washington.
Below is the “10-point plan for Greens in government” that was adopted as an annex to the party’s manifesto on 18 June 2017. It is a condensed version of the political demands articulated in their election manifesto.
10-point plan for the Greens in government:
We are living at a time of great change – much of it positive, but much of it alarming. Some live in hope of change, others in fear of it. We are convinced that the best still lies ahead for our country, in a united Europe – so long as we have the courage to tackle the challenges now. And this we want to take responsibility for.
It takes courage to embrace changes that will take our country forward. One cannot rise to new challenges by resting on the laurels of past achievements. We want to fight hard for progress. With many allies. And also on behalf of those who cannot yet share in that progress.
That is why we want to govern. For this we need to have partners. This partnership must be based on the shared conviction that much needs to change so that all of us can live well tomorrow. Whoever wants to work in coalition with us must be willing to join us in vigorous action to fulfil the intentions we set out below.
1. To enhance climate protection
Our political actions are determined by the preservation of our planet and its resources. To protect our climate is a task for all humanity. We want Germany to meet its climate protection targets – with no ifs or buts. By 2050 at the latest, energy supply also for heating, mobility and industry will be exclusively delivered by renewable energy. We will accelerate the energy transition and abolish the ceiling for expansion of renewable energies whilst paying due regard to ensuring the transition is fair. We will introduce a national minimum price to be paid for pollution. We will abolish the electricity tax and bring in in its place a revenue-neutral carbon pricing system. In order to meet the targets for climate protection and our aim of 100% renewable energy in the electricity sector by 2030, we will abandon climate-polluting coal. We will switch off the 20 dirtiest coal-fired power plants immediately to ensure that Germany still meets its climate protection target for 2020.
2. To promote the e-mobility breakthrough
To be successful in future, an economy must be renewable, efficient and digital – in terms of mobility, too. Therefore, we will rethink it in a new way. Without noise, emissions and traffic jams. We will design an affordable mobility in which zero-emission cars, e-mobility trains, public transport, bikes and pedestrians are intelligently synchronised. This includes the comprehensive expansion of public long- and short distance transportation as well as the improvement of the infrastructure for passengers. Zero-emission cars are part of an intelligent mobility. The clean car should be developed and built in Germany, as well as elsewhere. Germany has the best engineers in the world to achieve this. But it needs an ambitious policy framework that will bring security for planning. We will end the era of the fossil fuel combustion engine with clear environmental safeguards. From 2030, we want only zero-emissions cars to be newly approved. We will put in place the fiscal, structural and infrastructure conditions for emission-free mobility in the future. We shall put an end to the subsidies for company car perk gas-guzzlers. We shall drive e-mobility by including in the vehicle tax a system of bonuses and penalties for new cars that will reward lower CO2 emissions. This will boost innovation and secure jobs and added value through German high-tech.
3. To make agriculture sustainable
More and more people want healthy food, produced in harmony with nature. They want an agriculture that protects our groundwater and our soil and preserves the richness of our flora and fauna, instead of killing off the bees and birds. If we become responsible, Germany will switch to sustainable farming without poisonous pesticide and without genetic engineering. We will replace intensive factory farming over the next twenty years by livestock welfare-centred husbandry. We will enforce higher animal welfare standards by law, based on the needs of animals, and ending agonising breeding techniques and intensive animal farming. We introduce a certification system for all animal products, starting with meat. We will restructure Europe’s tax billions to ensure that environmental protection and animal welfare become new income opportunities for farmers, because the new agriculture will depend on these farmers.
4. To bring Europe together
We want to strengthen the united Europe. Without a united Europe, there will be no peace and prosperity or security for any of us in a globalised world. With us, there will be a distinct change of course in German policy on Europe. What is needed is partnership on an equal footing, with respect and more solidarity and sustainability rather than unilateral austerity policies. We will invest heavily in environmental modernisation and the digital future of our continent and through this will contribute to combating unemployment in many countries – instead of pouring two per cent of economic output, which amounts in Germany alone to EUR 30 billion more, into defence. We want more transparency for citizens and more decision-making rights for parliaments in European policy. With common rules, we will effectively counter tax dumping and money laundering. We are fighting for CETA not to be ratified in its current form.
5. To strengthen families
We want the promise of a better life to apply equally to all. For this to happen, there must be fair chances for all. We will channel increased investment into high-quality education, with better nursery school facilities and well-equipped schools, instead of spending money all-round and indiscriminately. We will combat child poverty and strengthen single parents. We will increase support for families, by an additional EUR 12 billion. The green family budget - with everything it includes - strengthens not only families but fosters the economic independence of women. We will thereby provide all children opportunities - regardless of what they are called, where they live and who their parents are.
6. To create social security
With the digitisation of the world of work we are facing a real social upheaval. We want to make sure that the welfare state will still be able in the future to honour its promise of providing security and in this way, counters the fear of social decline. We want a social security that protects from poverty and guarantees participation - during unemployment or high age. And we want to reduce social inequality in Germany. We are therefore gradually converting the social security systems into a citizen insurance scheme for all based on solidarity. We shall stabilise the level of pensions. We shall end the two classes of health care and ensure employers again contribute equally to financing health care. And we will improve the social security of the self-employed.
7. To lead integration to success, to protect refugees
It is not important where somebody comes from, but where he or she wants to head to. To live here happily means accepting our Constitution and its fundamental values. This applies to all in our shared homeland, whether they come from Dresden or Damascus. We judge people not by where they come from, but by where they want to go in life. In the future we shall pay more attention, in our “immigration society” (in German: Einwanderungsgesellschaft), to democratic education for all children and young people. We shall reform the law on citizenship: anyone born in Germany shall be a German citizen. Anyone granted official refugee status must be allowed to bring their families to join them, for that is also a way of helping them to integrate. They, too, have a right to live together as a family. We stand for a humane and also a common European refugee policy. We will not permit a change to the Constitution to introduce a ceiling in asylum legislation. We reject further tightening-up of asylum law and forced returns of immigrants to war zones and crisis areas. We owe this to our history and our values.
8. To live with equal rights and self-determined
In 2017, women and men do still not have equal rights. We take care that work of the same value must finally be paid accordingly - no matter if it is carried out by women or by men. We will deliver an effective pay equity act. We will guarantee the right to return to full-time work. And we will smash the glass ceiling that still confronts women at work. Quotas remain the most effective means of bringing about change, whether in a DAX company boardroom or the head offices of public administrations. We want the right to marry to apply to all in Germany and we want to give access to the right laid down in the adoption law. (?) When two people love each other and want to take care of each other, this deserves respect. Most people in Germany think this: they want gays and lesbians to be allowed to marry. In 22 countries worldwide, including 13 in Europe, gays and lesbians can plight their troth. Why should what is legal in many other places not be possible in Germany, too? The ban on gay and lesbian marriage is out of tune with our modern Germany.
9. To secure freedom
It is only possible to live in freedom if you feel safe. Islamist terrorism is one of the greatest threats of our age. Far-right violence and terror were able to spread in our country for far too long without being effectively challenged. Women are still especially affected by violence - be it in private or in the public space, be it online or offline. Racism is still an everyday experience and often results in violence. Refugees, homosexuals and the homeless are often victims of threats or assault. Incendiary debates add to this and divide and unsettle our societies. Many people are rightly afraid in the face of the high number of burglaries. We stand for an effective security policy – one which takes threats seriously, but reacts to them proportionately and, in so doing, safeguards citizens’ rights. Our task is to ensure the police are well equipped to perform the increasing number of duties incumbent upon them in order to protect citizens properly. We will enhance cross-border cooperation between security authorities. We will engage in targeted monitoring, not in mass surveillance and spying on all citizens. We will strengthen the principle of prevention as an integral part of internal security. This includes tightening up the law on firearms.
10. To tackle the causes of migration
Germany is a reliable partner in international alliances. But we are currently contributing to insecurity in the world by exporting arms to dictators and into crisis regions. We therefore want to bring in a mandatory law to put a stop to weapons exports. We do not want to profit from the suffering of others and the fuelling of conflict elsewhere. We therefore want to enhance environmental and social standards worldwide through fair trade deals. We want to put an end to overfishing off the coast of Africa and abolish farm subsidies that provoke rural exodus and hunger elsewhere. Combating climate change is also a fight against the causes of migration. The best refugee policy is one that prevents people from feeling they have to leave their homeland.
Our binding offer:
These statements of intent do not encompass all our concerns, but they do cover the most critical ones. They are our benchmark for participation in government. They are our binding offer to you, the citizens of our country. If you vote for the Greens you can be sure of our full commitment.
We want to do away with the deadlock and procrastination that is the hallmark of the Grand Coalition. That is why we are prepared after elections to talk to all parties except the AfD, to see whether together we can implement our intentions. This strategy is in line with our understanding of democracy and accountability.
We have already once, in coalition with the SPD, spent seven years ruling our country and succeeded in making progress here. We would be happy to pick up from there and build on that again. But it is up to you, the voters, to decide on what majorities are possible. The stronger the Greens are in the next German Bundestag and in the Federal Government, the more clout we will have to push forward with achieving our objectives. We can and will go into coalition government if it is headed in the right direction and if our core projects can be implemented. To use your vote responsibly will be our primary duty. If our core projects cannot be implemented, then we will fight for change and majorities in our society from the ranks of the opposition. If coalition negotiations produce a satisfactory outcome, we will put this outcome to our members in a ballot.
We want a modern and ecological, a diverse and just society. Anyone who wants to govern with us will have to bring about political change.
The future depends on the courage shown today!