Union parliamentary group wants “efficient CO2 pricing”

“If someone thinks that the architecture of this coalition can move further to the left, then he is mistaken,” said faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) on Wednesday before a two-day retreat of the group leadership in Potsdam.

In the evening, the coalition partner SPD launched its performance marathon of candidates for the party presidency. CSU national group leader Alexander Dobrindt demanded that the SPD should be able to remain fit for work even in its staffing phase.

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) said in the discussion behind closed doors, according to information from the German Press Agency, that certificates trading is superior to a CO2 tax. According to this information, Merkel made it clear that it would make more sense to trade in allowances because, unlike the CO2 tax, it would be easier to achieve the climate goals. In addition, such a trade would meet with more acceptance among the population. In addition, certificate trading would bring about innovations that you would not even know. Initially, however, incentives are needed.

Merkel also showed sympathy for the state climate bond proposed by CSU state party chief Alexander Dobrindt. Also, Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier (CDU) had praised the idea of ​​the CSU politician and encouraged the implementation of a private foundation. Dobrindt had proposed to issue a government bond for savers to finance climate protection. Accordingly, there could be an environmental bond with a state-guaranteed return of two percent per annum and a term until 2030.

The head of the Union faction unanimously adopted the climate paper in the evening under the motto “Good climate, strong Germany.” The MEPs propose that the emission of the climate-damaging greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) more expensive. “The CO2 problem is not yet sufficiently reflected in the price,” it says. “It is clear that in the future we will need efficient CO2 pricing – if only national at first.”

After about three hours of discussion, a formulation was included in the paper, which shows a clear preference for a certificate trade in comparison to a CO2 tax. It states: “Pricing in the form of a certificate trade has the advantage that the amount of CO2 emitted is effectively limited, the climate goals are thus achieved using market-based methods and innovations are stimulated.”

The EU’s top-level decision states that existing taxes and charges on energy should be further developed and even more geared to achieving the climate goals. At the same time, the competitiveness of Germany as a location and the social balance should be respected.

Merkel proposes invitation from Hong Kong activists

Angela Merkel travels to China on Thursday. An activist from Hong Kong had asked her for help in conflict with the country. She does not plan to meet the activists.

The Federal Government has been reluctant to respond to the request of an activist in Hong Kong for assistance. Chancellor Angela Merkel has taken note of the open letter from Joshua Wong on the media, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

On the question of whether Chancellor Wong and other activists will meet in their upcoming visit to China, said Seibert, the travel program for Merkel had not changed. The program does not provide for such meetings.

Activist: Wish us courage and determination

In principle, the Federal Government advocates a solution in dialogue without violence, said Seibert. This dialogue must be conducted on the basis of Hong Kong’s “Basic Law,” said Seibert. The Basic Law grants people in the Special Administrative Region fundamental rights such as freedom of expression and assembly.

Wong asked Merkel for help in Merkel’s “Bild” letter: “We hope that you show courage and determination against authoritarian injustices that inspired Germany and Europe before the end of the Cold War and that show Europe today.” Merkel breaks for a three-day trip to China on Thursday.

Union warns coalition partner SPD

The head of the Union faction has warned the coalition partner SPD against a left-side slip. Even before the start of the search for a new party leadership has emerged, “the SPD moves to the left,” said faction leader Ralph Brinkhaus (CDU) on Wednesday before the start of a two-day retreat of the Union’s Executive Committee in Potsdam.

“No matter who is elected: We are still available on the basis of the coalition agreement,” said Brinkhaus. “But if someone thinks they can move the coalition’s architecture further to the left, then he’s wrong.”

No new distribution discussion

The union wanted to continue the coalition until the regular end in 2021, assured Brinkhaus. But he also emphasized: “The grand coalition is not an end in itself, we will not bend there either.” The Union is ready to talk beyond the coalition agreement on important issues of the future, in order to make Germany future-proof.

“But we are not ready to conduct a new distribution discussion in this country,” said Brinkhaus. This is currently the wrong time. The SPD had last demanded a property tax. “It’s about making this country fit for 2030. And that must guide us in the second half of this legislature.”

CSU national group leader Alexander Dobrindt said that the SPD was in a staffing phase. “However, we expect that even at this stage a working capacity will be maintained that will continue to drive the projects forward with us, as there will be no discount on SPD projects.” The SPD must clearly state that they comply with the content of the agreements “and continue to lead this coalition successfully.”

Looking ahead to the upcoming mid-term review of the coalition, Dobrindt said nearly two-thirds of the projects have already been completed. But “we did not go into this coalition for two-thirds, but we want to work through all the projects.”

Merkel talks with Putin about Ukraine summit

Germany and France have more recently interfered again in the Ukraine conflict, urging Moscow to a summit meeting. Does Kremlin boss Putin give diplomacy a chance?

Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin about the announced Ukraine summit in the so-called Normandy format. In a telephone conversation on Thursday, both politicians had agreed to continue the preparations for such a meeting between Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine in order to advance the agreements of the Minsk peace agreement, said government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

French President Emmanuel Macron had announced the summit on Monday for September. According to Merkel, it should take place in Paris. In the east of Ukraine, pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government troops have been fighting since 2014. Germany and France have been trying for five years to mediate in the Normandy format between Ukraine and Russia. The last summit meeting in this format took place in Berlin in 2016.

Merkel and Putin also talk about Syria

According to Seibert, Merkel and Putin emphasized with regard to Ukraine the urgency to accelerate negotiations on future gas transit contracts. In addition, they had exchanged views on the situation in the civil war Syria.

They talked in particular about the military escalation in the north-west of the country and the entry into a political process led by the United Nations to overcome the conflict. The topic of the conversation was accordingly the situation in Libya.

Merkel thanks Hungary

The relationship between Germany and Hungary is difficult. Now Merkel has visited the country for a ceremony to commemorate the flight of GDR citizens. But she also appealed indirectly to Orban.

Chancellor Angela Merkel thanked the Hungarians for their support in the opening of the borders in 1989 and in the subsequent German Unification. The “Pan-European Picnic” made possible by the Hungarian side became a symbol of the great freedom movement at that time, Merkel said on Monday in Sopron, Hungary, at a ceremony commemorating the 30th anniversary of the historic day.

“The picnic became the biggest mass escape from the GDR since the wall was built in 1961. The picnic turned into a world event,” said Merkel. On August 19, 1989, more than 600 GDR citizens managed to escape via the border that had been temporarily opened for the picnic. The event was the harbinger of the fall of the Berlin Wall in November.

Merkel addressed warnings to Hungary

“Sopron is an example of how much we Europeans can achieve if we stand up courageously for our indivisible values,” Merkel said in the Evangelical Church of Sopron. In the presence of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban, she reminded the EU states’ ability to compromise, especially in contentious issues. “We should always be aware that national well-being always depends on the European common good.” Hungary is one of the EU countries that are relentlessly defending their national interests on the migration issue.

After the ceremony, Merkel and Orban met for lunch at City Hall of the city for a short conversation. Later a joint press conference was planned. This tight program is considered a sign of how much the German-Hungarian relationship is currently cooling. While Orban has been strictly opposed to immigration for years, Germany criticizes the illiberal tendencies in Hungary.