We look back on a great evening with around 1,000 invited guests, lots of prominent political guests and great conversations. Thank you to everyone who made this evening possible.
It was a great summer evening at the Permanent Representation of the State of Rhineland-Palatinate in Berlin! We celebrated late into the night with around 1,000 guests. ZEIT journalist Anna Mayr and our Executive Director Dominic Schwickert debated with Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck. Earlier in the day, government coalition politicians Ricarda Lang, Verena Hubertz and Gyde Jensen engaged in a panel discussion.
Debate with Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck (German)
In the various talks and discussions throughout the evening, it became clear that the traffic light coalition politicians would like to see renewed enthusiasm for cooperation in the coalition. “A government that is constantly arguing loses trust,” Habeck said. In his view, the societal spectrum represented by the traffic light is large, which can lead to problems if communication is lacking. “It was never really harmonious”. Because of that, Habeck continued, it is now all the more important that a lot of practical work is getting done.
During the panel discussion, Gyde Jensen, FDP member of the Bundestag, argued that the focus should now be on substantive policies and on implementing projects that are tangible for people. “We talk too much about timetables and too little about what laws are needed now,” she said. In this context, she highlighted the approval of balcony power plants as a real openness towards technology. Verena Hubertz, member of parliament for the SPD, praised the cooperation in the coalition in terms of results, but criticized the style. “Politics is good action and good communication. We do the acting. But when it comes to communicating, we can still do better.”
The panel discussion (German)
Greens party co-leader Ricarda Lang advocated “clearing the air” for the next two years of cooperation within the traffic light coalition and spoke in favor of making a clear plan about which projects should still be implemented. “Maybe now is the time to sit down together – clean slate – and think: What do we need to accomplish as a coalition in the next two years?” she argued. “The question is: Can we manage to formulate a project of hope in the next two years?”. To do that, she continued, “we need to find projects that are feasible for people, alongside major industrial projects.”
Regarding the cooperation within the coalition, Lang said, “We wrote the coalition agreement at that time, which was not easy. Then war came and suddenly each party had to jump over its shadow.” Each of the three coalition partners had to make difficult compromises at the time, but there was never time to draft a new coalition agreement for the changed circumstances, she explained. “We didn’t have time to retreat and discuss for another eleven weeks. Instead, we had to do open-heart surgery”.
Prior to the Progressive Summer Party, we had already invited around 150 people from politics, civil society and academia to our Political Symposium, where the question of how much conflict the transformation can tolerate was discussed. In five confidential rounds, experts discussed the tension between ambitious climate policy and social compatibility – and the question of how the traffic light coalition will overcome these hurdles.
We look back with a smile on a wonderful evening with many stimulating conversations, new connections and old friends. And we would like to thank all the supporters who made this evening possible.
Photos: Moritz Richter