A good year and a half before the next federal election, a debate about coalition options has broken out. After statements by CDU leader Friedrich Merz about the possibility of a black-green alliance, leading CSU politicians, but also the young members of the Union, turned against such a variant.

The Greens, on the other hand, were open. The FDP is leaning towards an alliance without the Greens. The SPD, Greens and FDP currently govern the federal government. In current surveys, the black-green coalition would be within reach with a combined vote of around 45 percent, but the traffic light alliance is far from having a majority of its own.

Merz also pointed this out in an email to supporters at the weekend and, with a view to the Union as the currently strongest force in surveys, asked who she could form a coalition with. He named the SPD and the Greens as possible partners in the event that a coalition with the FDP was not enough. “Not a particularly tempting prospect, but there must be a majority capable of governing,” he wrote in his newsletter.

Merz also referred to Hesse, where Prime Minister Boris Rhein had chosen the latter partner as the election winner after explorations with the Greens and the SPD. “If the Hessian CDU – as many members and voters demanded – had ruled out a coalition with the Greens from the outset, this exploration of the best success in the interest of the CDU would not have been possible, the SPD would have appeared much more self-confident,” said Merz . There should also be no alternative to a coalition.

The CSU and the Junge Union rail against the Greens

Opposition came from the CSU – united in the Bundestag with the CDU in a faction led by Merz. CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt told the German Press Agency: “We can only achieve a policy change in Germany. The Greens have significantly advanced social polarization in Germany with their ideological projects. This left-green paternalism and re-education policy must be ended. The Greens “We will be more opponents than partners,” said Dobrindt, who is also Merz’s first deputy in the parliamentary group. CSU General Secretary Martin Huber stated at the Editorial Network Germany (RND): “The CSU and the Greens simply don’t fit together.”

Hesse’s Minister for Federal and European Affairs, Manfred Pentz (CDU), told the “Bild” newspaper: “There are still worlds apart at the federal level between the CDU and the Greens.” In Hesse, the CDU worked well and trustingly with the Greens and this is also the case in other countries. “But these experiences cannot simply be transferred to the federal level.” Wolfgang Steiger, general secretary of the CDU economic council, told the “Bild” newspaper: “At the moment is not the right time for thought games about coalitions.” The Union should now concentrate primarily on its strengths. There is certainly still room for improvement here.

The Junge Union (JU), the offspring of the CDU and CSU, sees it similarly. JU chairman Johannes Winkel told the “ZDFHeute” portal that 18 months before the federal election was not the time for coalition speculation. “But what you can already say is that the black-green coalition at the federal level is beyond the political imagination.” Winkel argued: “The green zeitgeist of the 10s, which unfortunately also affected the Union, is the cause of many of the fundamental problems in Germany.” One thing is clear: “Black-green is not a model for the future.”

The Greens point to alliances with the CDU in several federal states

The co-chair of the Green Party, Ricarda Lang, believes black-green is possible. “That is definitely an option,” Lang told the TV channel Welt. In a democracy threatened by right-wing extremist forces, democrats would have to talk to each other, find solutions and form a coalition with one another. “And despite all the talk about main enemies and main opponents here in the federal government, we see in Baden-Württemberg, in Schleswig-Holstein or even in North Rhine-Westphalia, that can definitely work well,” emphasized Lang, with a view to the alliances with the CDU in the three countries.

The Hessian Green Party politician Tarek Al-Wazir, who ruled with his party as a junior partner with the CDU until the recent change of government in Wiesbaden, sees Merz’s statements as a change of course. The CDU leader obviously understood “that this fundamentalist course of the Union is not sustainable,” said Al-Wazir on ZDF. Baden-Württemberg’s Prime Minister Winfried Kretschmann (Greens) and State Interior Minister Thomas Strobl (CDU) also promoted the black-green option in the federal government on Tuesday. A green-black alliance has ruled the southwest since 2016.

Schäuble already thought black-green was conceivable in 2007

Debates about black-green alliances have been going on for a long time. When Bonn was in power in the mid-1990s, young CDU and Green politicians met to explore common ground. The loose circle became known as the “Pizza Connection.” The late CDU politician Wolfgang Schäuble told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung” in 2007: “Black-green is not our wish, but it is an option for the Union.”

The first black-green state government came into office in Hamburg in 2008, but it only lasted a good two years. Coalitions between both parties are now common at the state level. The CDU and the Greens are currently partners in five state governments, in Baden-Württemberg, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein in a two-party alliance, and in Brandenburg and Saxony in a three-party alliance.

FDP does not want to govern with the Greens again

In 2017, the Union, the Greens and the FDP explored the formation of a so-called Jamaica coalition. The Liberals broke off the talks and FDP leader Christian Lindner’s sentence “It is better not to govern than to govern incorrectly” went down in history.

After the 2021 federal election, the SPD, Greens and FDP came together in a coalition. But the liberals apparently have no interest in a continuation. FDP General Secretary Bijan Djir-Sarai told the dpa on Wednesday with reference to liberal beliefs: “However, they are difficult to enforce in the government coalition due to the fundamentally different viewpoint, especially of the Greens.” The overlap in content with the Union is greater. “I think that a black-yellow coalition could better get our country back on track economically after the next federal election. I also think a Germany coalition is conceivable.”