ZTwo weeks before the mayoral election, Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck came to Frankfurt on Sunday evening to support the Greens candidate Manuela Rottmann in the election campaign alongside the Hessian Greens Minister of Economics Tarek Al-Wazir in the Palais Frankfurt in the city center. But Habeck’s visit was more than a routine back-up for the candidate in Germany’s fifth largest city. Habeck knows and appreciates Rottmann as a “politically consistent, strong woman”, as he later admitted.
Although the Greens were once founded out of the crisis, they are no longer a party that wants to swing from crisis to crisis. Instead, it’s about taking responsibility. Especially with regard to the past year, in which, according to Habeck, “so many difficult decisions that were not negotiated in election programs had to be made”, he is proud of how the Greens have proven themselves: “It is a growing up, a reality shaping want”, which the Greens now make up and there is a woman “who stands for it like no other, and that is Manuela Rottmann”.
Habeck insisted on pointing out anecdotes that connect him to the law graduate, member of the Bundestag and former Frankfurt city councillor, who became a committed member of the Greens at the age of 19. He recalled the times when there was an internal party think tank with the working title “Realism and Substance”. Rottmann made the big speeches there.
Habeck once wanted to recruit Rottmann
“What more could you want for Frankfurt than a politician with this objective,” said Habeck, who admitted that in 2012, when he became environment minister in Schleswig-Holstein, he wanted to recruit Rottmann as state secretary. “I would have liked to have had such a consistent, strong woman by my side.” But Rottmann, with reference to her family situation, her son was still small at the time, declined because she could not contribute one hundred percent. Such a self-assessment alone speaks for a “great quality”, said Habeck.
And Rottmann is always looking for a conversation with everyone, even going where it is hard political work to convince others. Anyone who understands Frankfurt as a city in which people should talk to each other across all borders, who wants Frankfurt as a large regulars’ table, “she is the right person for them.”
Previously, Habeck had recalled the events in Hanau three years ago. At that time, it was quickly said that the murders were an “attack on all of us”. The Green Minister, however, advised greater differentiation. Because it was definitely a targeted hate attack on a group of people who wanted to be excluded from society.
“Power of Solidarity”
Only when one perceives these attacks as such can “the power of solidarity” be used against them. With a view to the war in Ukraine, too, one cannot simply demand peace without differentiating what is meant by that. For him, peace in Ukraine means being able to live freely and self-determinedly there.
At the start of the evening, the Hessian Economics Minister Tarek Al-Wazir addressed the approximately 500 spectators who wanted to take a closer look at Rottmann, but also at the two leading politicians of the Greens at federal and state level. Al-Wazir described himself as the “opening act for the wonderful Manuela Rottmann.” With her, Frankfurt could get a mayor in two weeks or in the run-off election on March 26, who “takes responsibility.” Recently, it was “a bit complicated”, trusting and to work reliably with Frankfurt.
Frankfurt facing “incredible tasks”
Frankfurt, like other major cities, is facing “incredible tasks”. The fact that Frankfurt also has to become climate-neutral will change “the way we live, how we produce and how we move completely in a short time,” said Al-Wazir. With Rottmann you would have a guarantor at the top of the city who not only talks about it on Sundays, but works on it from Monday to Friday and acts accordingly.
According to Al-Wazir, the challenges also include the question of what the city is doing with the power plants that are operated with fossil fuels, for example. Is there also a perspective for this to become climate-neutral? Rottmann would certainly make an answer to that question her task, Al-Wazir said. Above all, “she doesn’t fall over when she feels a headwind.” He has known Rottmann for 30 years and praised the candidate: “I don’t know a more stubborn person.”
And Rottmann himself? She reported how surprised she was that her central election campaign topic, making Frankfurt actually climate-neutral by 2035, provoked so few discussions with the other candidates: “I thought we were arguing about how to achieve the goal.” but there would be no suggestions, no concepts. “For 30 years I’ve been kneeling in the topic of how to achieve implementation and what the obstacles are,” said Rottmann and announced: She wanted to “finally create affordable housing, make sure that Frankfurt is cleaner and safer.
In addition, she could even be enthusiastic about the “dumbingly boring topic” of modernizing the city administration in order to remove obstacles to political decisions: “Because that’s the key.”