Bremen: Bovenschulte (SPD) negotiates the Greens in the ground


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Et sounds a little subdued when Alexandra Werwarth is asked about the whereabouts of the “car-free inner city” this Monday morning at the presentation of the new, almost 170-page Bremen coalition agreement. Her party had campaigned so vehemently for them in recent years. The Greens, says the state chair, would “concentrate on the essentials” in the new legislative period, on “what is feasible, what can be implemented”.

The “car-free inner city”, so much is certain after the four-week negotiations between the SPD, the Greens and the Left Party, is no longer part of the Weser for the time being. Security, economic power, education and climate protection should become the focal points of the joint work. Pragmatism, not ideology, should be the hallmark of the second term in office of Social Democratic Mayor Andreas Bovenschulte. In the first week of July he is to be confirmed in office by the Bremen Parliament for a further four years.

Bovenschulte had the Greens with reference to theirs bad election result already forced significant concessions in the first exploratory talks. For Bovenschulte, giving up one of three senator posts and giving up responsibility for the entire transport sector were prerequisites for continuing the coalition with the Greens. Otherwise, the mayor had left no doubt after what he saw as the devastating results of green transport policy in the past legislative period, which had damaged the Senate’s overall credibility, that the SPD would have formed an alliance with the Bremen CDU aimed at. So the Greens bowed.

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The desire to remain in power, but also to some extent the insight that green politics with a crowbar is not particularly promising in either Berlin or Bremen were ultimately much stronger than the longing for a return to pure green teaching. Instead of giving up power completely, the Greens decided to partially withdraw in terms of content and to carry out a comprehensive personnel swap. None of the three previous Green senators remain in office. The two state chairmen will also not stand for re-election at the next state party conference.

For the two remaining senator posts, the Greens nominated their previous parliamentary group leader Björn Fecker and the managing director of the local section of the child protection association, Kathrin Moosdorf, who has not yet made any political appearances. Tabula rasa for the Greens, who only got 11.9 percent in the general election in May (after 17.4 in 2019) and ended up in third place, a long way behind the SPD and CDU. The Union received 26.2 percent, the left, 10.9 percent, the “Citizens in Anger” 9.4 percent, the FDP 5.1 percent. The SPD won the election with 29.8 percent, with the second worst result since 1946, so not exactly a highlight of the city-state party, which has been in power for 77 years.

Business friendliness and social balance are the top priorities

Bovenschulte, whom all election analysts attest to having prevented an even worse result for the Social Democrats almost single-handedly, has once again significantly strengthened his position with the coalition agreement that has been presented. As before, business friendliness and social equality should be the top priority of red-green-red Senate politics, especially in the field of education. In addition to Bovenschulte as mayor, the SPD will in future have four instead of three senators.

The most important concrete promise of the new city government is likely to be the day-care center guarantee laid down in the coalition agreement – which requires considerable additional investment in the education sector, but will also be accompanied by lowering standards and increasing group sizes. The area of ​​internal security is also given more emphasis in the new coalition agreement than in the old coalition agreement – ​​which immediately brought harsh criticism to the coalition from the ranks of the Green Youth. She sees Red-Green-Red on a “fundamentally wrong path” in domestic politics.

“I think it’s normal and human that it doesn’t go past him without consequences.”

Economics Minister Robert Habeck (Greens) took part in a 90-minute government survey in the Bundestag. WELT business correspondent Philipp Vetter analyzes Habeck’s appearance.

Unlike the Greens, everything in the Left Party will remain the same in the new legislative period. Both senators, Kristina Vogt (economy) and Claudia Bernhard (health) remain in office. For Vogt, who is also respected by Bremen entrepreneurs, the new coalition agreement even has a little treat in store. Unlike before, the Economics Senator will also be responsible for port policy in the future. A responsibility for the old heart of Bremen’s economy, which the Social Democrats of the left four years ago absolutely did not want to give up. To compensate, the SPD will take over the “work” area from Vogt.

The reactions in Bremen to the new coalition agreement were to be expected. The CDU, the strongest opposition party, criticized the work from the ground up. Compared to the “complete standstill” of the past four years, Red-Green-Red inflates “their own wish list” and promises “unrealizable gifts to the people of Bremen,” complained CDU parliamentary group leader Frank Imhoff. According to the Christian Democrat, Bovenschulte is also “apparently satisfied with last place” in education policy.

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World Editor-in-Chief Dr.  Ulf Poschardt (01.2023) subject: _19A6124 author photo DIE WELT photo shoot

Criticism from the Bremen Chamber of Commerce was more reserved, recognizing that the new coalition agreement was “a policy more geared towards consensus and the economic development of the federal state”. At the same time, however, she criticized the fact that the red-green-red agreement “unfortunately also expressed the desire for increasing state influence in many places”.

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