CDU leader Friedrich Merz has called for people to work more passionately for democracy and freedom – especially with regard to Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Of course, in politics you have to wrestle, argue and discuss issues. “But please let us never lose sight of the fact that it is also – and above all – about protecting peace, freedom, openness, liberality, tolerance in our country and throughout Europe from all these challenges that we are facing today are exposed,” said Merz on Thursday at a regional conference for party members and interested parties in Pforzheim. “When, if not now? And who, if not us?” cried Merz.

The number of people worldwide who live in a free, democratic society has been declining for years. Conversely, the number of people who would have to live in an authoritarian state is increasing, said Merz. The tone of communication, for example in social media, or the handling of political debates also have to be considered more carefully. “We will have to redefine how freedom and openness and liberality apply to us.” The CDU must provide answers to these greatest challenges – not only in a material sense, but in a socio-political, non-material sense. “We will have to fight together again for democracy and the rule of law.”

The event marked the start of four regional conferences. In addition to Merz, CDU General Secretary Mario Czaja and Baden-W├╝rttemberg’s party leader Thomas Strobl were on stage in front of around 800 guests from the south-west, Rhineland-Palatinate and Saarland.

In terms of content, the conference should primarily deal with the new basic program and future political priorities of the Christian Democrats. At the end, the audience took part in a panel discussion – with questions on topics such as entrepreneurship, sustainability and Germany as a technology location.

Information on regional conferences