Dhe resolution of the party congress was less than three days old when the chancellor thwarted it. On Friday evening until late in the evening, the Greens in Bonn fought for their position. In the end, a large majority was able to come to terms with the fact that the two southern German nuclear power plants would continue to run until April 15 in an emergency. But that was not meant as a negotiating position, but as the extreme limit. Now the Chancellor has ordered that the nuclear power plant in Emsland should continue to operate.
Minister of Economics Habeck spoke in the evening on the ARD of a proposal “with which I can work, with which I can live”. The choice of words is interesting, because in fact Olaf Scholz did not make a suggestion, but exercised his authority to set guidelines, the decision binds the minister. Habeck has now promised to promote it.
This is aimed in a line at the parliamentary group, which a Green recently described as the “Gallic village of the anti-nuclear movement”. That’s a bit of an exaggeration, but it’s true that the Group is particularly critical on this issue. It was the parliamentary group leader who explained to Habeck at the end of August that he did not have a free hand in extending the terms, but was strictly bound by the results of the stress test. They then found that there could be a problem with grid stability in southern Germany, which is why Habeck suggested reserve operation for the Isar 2 and Neckarwestheim 2 kilns.
“Factually not required and constitutionally questionable”
Jürgen Trittin, actually the group’s foreign policy spokesman, but the main spokesman in the nuclear debate, made it clear on Monday evening that Habeck didn’t have to try too hard to advertise to him. “Factually not required and constitutionally questionable,” he called Scholz’s decision. It violates “the foundations of cooperation in the coalition by rewarding the breaking of promises.” According to the Greens, there was a firm agreement on the so-called operational reserve for the two nuclear power plants, and the FDP then gave up.
The leadership of the parliamentary group did not react quite so harshly, but also left no doubt about their own annoyance. “We note that Chancellor Olaf Scholz is exercising his authority to set guidelines,” said the two parliamentary group leaders Britta Haßelmann and Katharina Dröge on Monday evening. “We will now discuss with our parliamentary group how we deal with the Chancellor’s decision.” It is regrettable that Olaf Scholz and the SPD are apparently willing to put the Emsland nuclear power plant into reserve operation, although there is no factual or technical reason for this are.
A few minutes later, a virtual special faction meeting began. According to participants, opinions were mixed. Realos in particular pointed out that the essential points had been reached: no new fuel rods, final exit on April 15, the destructive debate was finally over. There were also public statements in this direction. Katharina Schulze, parliamentary group leader in the Bavarian state parliament, tweeted: “Chancellor supports green line”.
“This basta policy is damn bad style”
But that attitude was not prevalent in Monday night’s session. The irritation, especially on the left wing, about Scholz is great. The accusation: First he watches for weeks and then comes an oversized power word that is only used in terms of power politics, but not argumentatively. “This basta policy is damn bad style,” wrote Timon Dzienus, leader of the Green Youth, on Twitter. There isn’t much left of the grassroots tradition of the Greens, but enough that party convention decisions cannot be declared worthless after three days. If this decision had been made before the party congress, it could have been discussed in Bonn. Presumably, a majority of the party congress would have agreed to the continued operation of the third nuclear power plant.
The parliamentary group has now decided that it will not decide on the federal government’s formulation aid on Tuesday as planned. This means that the necessary amendment to the law will not be decided in an abbreviated procedure, but must be sent to the Bundesrat before the first reading. This means that the Bundestag will only deal with the draft law in November. On the one hand, this creates some time distance to the party congress decision. On the other hand, the faction can make it so clear that they do not feel bound by Scholz’s letter (and are not legally bound either). If it were to adopt the drafting aid, it would adopt the government’s position. The schedule for the preparations for continued operation must still be adhered to, it is said. The nuclear power plant operators had made it clear that a decision by the federal government would suffice. So you accept the small residual risk that the Greens group might not agree in November after all.
The question remains whether Habeck or other green leaders knew about Scholz’s decision, maybe even involved, because then they can hide behind it. Greens are now beginning to read the speeches at the party conference differently. Ricarda Lang, the party leader, who also remarked on Monday evening that the Emsland nuclear power plant is irrelevant to the question of network stability, had described the procurement of new fuel rods as a “red line” at the party conference. Did it open up a corridor for negotiations that the green delegates had not noticed? The fact that this question is being discussed at all shows the insecurity of a party that had just assured itself over the weekend.