The previous chairman of the Junge Union, Tilman Kuban, resigned at this year’s Deutschlandtag.Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
Sneaker conservatism is what Tilman Kuban calls the political attitude of his Junge Union (JU). What he means by that: finding new, conservative answers for a new era. The youth organization of CDU and CSU met in Fulda at the weekend to discuss current issues and elect a new board.
The sneakers are a recurring element, for the JU they became a symbol of the renewal of their party at the last Germany Day.
Watson has summarized the five most important findings of the Germany Day for you.
War, Security and Solidarity
The motto of the Junge Union weekend was: Solidarity. The ongoing war in Ukraine took up a large part of the event. The new Ukrainian Ambassador Oleksii Makeiev was a guest. In his speech he thanked Germany for the support and solidarity from Germany for his country during the Russian war of aggression.
The new ambassador of Ukraine, Oleksii Makeiev, together with ex-JU chairman Tilman Kuban. Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
He also said that he felt that the hearts in Germany were beating blue and yellow. He spoke of the reconquest of Ukrainian territories. Messages he almost cried to, he said. He indirectly demanded further arms deliveries from Germany.
The JU gave the ambassador a sweater as a sign of their support, which also expresses solidarity with Ukraine. “Young, Free, European. #Standwithukraine” is written on it. Makeiev made it clear that he does not associate himself with any party per se, but that he would still accept this sweater – after all, the colors yellow and blue stand for Ukraine. And for Europe.
Vitali Klitschko, the mayor of Kyiv, also sent a greeting to Fulda. In it he called for further support for Ukraine and reiterated his hope that his country would be part of the EU will. But not only the speeches of the guests revolved around Ukraine, but also the main motion of the JU.
Vitali Klitschko reported via video message.Image: imago images/ Beata Zawrzel
At least indirectly. Specifically, the application revolved around a new security policy. One that should go beyond the borders of Germany. Which should include both military and cyber security and disaster protection. For the JU it is clear: the Union is the party of armed forces. In its leading motion, the JU therefore called on the CDU and CSU party leaders “not only to anchor the full equipment of the Bundeswehr in the basic and election program, but to make it a coalition condition”.
Friedrich Merz: Chairman of JU’s Grace
The red carpet was rolled out metaphorically for the CDU chairman Friedrich Merz. The JU left no doubt that they would have liked the Sauerland to head the party earlier. He was escorted to the podium with Queen’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.” With thunderous applause. And yet the youngsters also had a job for Merz: The search for the chancellor candidate should never again be as chaotic as it was last year.
Don’t become her, promised Merz. In his speech, he made it clear that the CDU and CSU had a better relationship than they had in a long time. there will not be another internal rift in the election campaign.
CDU leader Friedrich Merz was happily welcomed by the JU.Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
The party leader praised the youth organization for its innovation and for its leading proposal. Merz spoke of a “remarkable paper” and praised the “well-founded” engagement of the JU with the topic, which no other youth organization could show. He shot mainly against the Jusos, the youth organization of the SPD. They had their federal congress three weeks earlier – but without guests from Ukraine, as Merz criticized.
He accused the traffic light coalition that the special fund of 100 billion euros had not yet been spent to better equip the Bundeswehr. “Nothing happened, there is not a single order, there is not a tender,” complained the CDU leader. Another point of criticism: the citizen money. A new permanent issue between traffic lights and the opposition.
The traffic light gets rid of its fat
And not only Merz attacked the traffic light government. The other guests also criticized Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and Finance Minister Christian Lindner (FDP) in their speeches. Reasons for criticism: debt, citizen income, security.
“Anyone who tries to silence the opposition of the center risks damaging public discourse and democracy.”, said the Prime Minister of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hendrik Wüst, for example. He was referring to the “Fake News” allegations by traffic lights against the Union because of the blockade of citizen money.
Hendrik Wüst has been even closer to the Junge Union since his own election campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia.Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
He threw Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) too hesitant politics before, not only when it comes to aid for Ukraine. This crisis “needs clarity, not hesitation and procrastination. This crisis also needs cohesion.” But there is always a fight at the traffic light.
And the deputy chairman of the Union faction in the Bundestag, Jens Spahn, also took the traffic light into account. He accused her of indecisiveness in helping businesses and consumers against high energy prices.
The vice-chairman of the Union faction, Jens Spahn, sharply criticized the traffic light.Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
Weeks ago, Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) announced his “double boom”, “we just don’t see anything, you don’t know anything specific,” said Spahn. And further: “We now have to be careful that this double boom of the traffic light doesn’t end up becoming a cold fart that smells once and then quickly fizzles out again.”
A topic that popped up again and again in the energy sector: nuclear power. Here the delegates showed disagreement. While those from the south of the republic spoke out in favor of restarting three more nuclear power plants – in addition to those currently in reserve operation – the delegates from Schleswig-Holstein and Bremen flatly rejected this request.
Initiative motion calls for a clear position on the revolution in Iran
Düzen Tekkal, author and civil rights activist, also addressed the delegates via video message. She spoke of the current situation in Iran, deliberately calling the protests “revolution,” as she clarified. She demanded that the parties side with the civilians in Iran across all parties.
For almost two months, people in Iran have been demonstrating for freedom and self-determination.Image: AP / Uncredited
“There are people on the street, of your age, with your dreams, with your wishes,” she addressed delegates directly and continued: “with basic rights that we take for granted, for which they are having to die right now.”
The Junge Union reacted to the situation in Iran with an initiative application. Addressee of the application: The Federal Government. Talks about the nuclear deal with Iran must be ended immediately.
In addition, the Iranian ambassador must be summoned and it must be made clear that Germany supports efforts towards democratization and rejects executions. The sanctions should be tightened further. Overall, the JU called for a clear edge in foreign policy and German-Iranian relations in the application. The delegates accepted the motion unanimously.
The new face of JU
But the Germany Day was not only exciting in terms of content – also in terms of personnel. Because the longtime JU boss Tilman Kuban made his place free. He is succeeded by Johannes Winkel from North Rhine-Westphalia.
Johannes Winkel is the new chairman of the Junge Union.Image: dpa / Boris Roessler
The 31-year-old lawyer was elected with 86.96 percent of the votes. In his inaugural speech, he made it clear that he wanted to promote issues such as climate protection and intergenerational justice. He also warned against de-industrialization. His goal is to make Germany a climate-neutral industrial country.
(With material from dpa)