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German election

Greens set election program

An overwhelming majority of Green party delegates have agreed on this year's election program with environmental and climate protection at its core. The party also drew red lines for coalition projects.

The Green party has vowed to concentrate on its core competence of environmental and climate protection in its program for Germany's federal parliamentary elections this September.

"This planet has a fever, therefore we must double our efforts," emphasized the party's top female candidate, Katrin Göring-Eckardt, at the party convention in Berlin.

The environmental party, which sees itself as the "spearhead of the movement," criticized that other parties had failed to recognize the sign of the times. The Greens intend to do away with coal energy completely by the year 2030, at which point Germany will produce all of its energy with renewable sources. They also want to take the 20 dirtiest coal-fired power plants offline during the next legislative period. They say that is the only way for Germany to uphold its internationally pledged climate goals.

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Greens co-leader Cem Özdemir talks to DW

No more internal combustion engines

The party's top male candidate, Cem Özdemir, said that the Greens will not sign any coalition agreement that does not clearly regulate climate protection. "And climate protection means getting rid of coal, anything else is not climate protection," he announced to the cheers of all 800 convention delegates. The Greens also want to be at the front of the pack when it comes to switching Germany to electromobility: No internal combustion autos are to be registered in Germany after 2030.

Green party environmental consciousness also includes animal protection: They are calling for the end of mass livestock farming within the next 20 years. They also intend to prohibit the use of the controversial herbicide Glyphosate.

'Marriage equality' or else

An "open society," in which everyone has the right to happiness, is another important topic for the Greens. At the convention, the party announced that marriage equality – that is equal marriage rights for gays and lesbians – would be a prerequisite for participating in government after the election. The election program clearly states: "There will be no coalition contract with us without marriage equality."

With their self-declared goal of becoming the third strongest party in September's election, that statement sets the bar high for a governing coalition with the Union parties – the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Christian Social Union (CSU) are both opposed to marriage equality. In general, the Greens are keeping all options open in terms of ruling coalitions. Delegates rejected all proposals that sought to give preference to one constellation over any other.

'Born here, home here'

On immigration, the Greens called for citizenship according to place of birth – anyone born in Germany would get a German passport. Beyond a new immigration law, the party also called for the creation of an independent immigration and integration ministry. Party delegates rejected the concept of immigration limits, as well as the policy of deportations into war and conflict zones.

The Greens also want to set accents in social policy: They aim to fight childhood poverty by introducing a 12 billion euro ($13.5 billion) "family budget." Their goal is to provide a 300 euro monthly guaranteed income for every child in Germany. Low and middle income earners will see tax relief from the Greens, but the "super rich" will be hit with a wealth tax.

Green fraction leader Anton Hofreiter said the program, which he called "real and radical," will give the party new campaign momentum. The Greens held long and passionate debates over the course of the carefully orchestrated three-day convention, but in the end were almost unanimous in their support for the election program and the party's leadership duo of Katrin Göring-Eckardt and Cem Özdemir. The two put forth the goal of pulling the party out of its current rut of unpopularity and scoring double-digit returns on September 24 – leading the Greens into a third place finish behind CDU/CSU and the Social Democratic Party (SPD).   

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