CDU leader Merz is open to “Germany Year”

Berlin. CDU leader Friedrich Merz can get a lot out of the idea of ​​a mandatory social year. “I don’t have a personal opinion yet, but my basic position is more towards a mandatory year than on a voluntary basis,” Merz, who is also chairman of the Union faction in the Bundestag, said in an interview with the German press. agency in Berlin. “I am surprised how much approval there is, especially among the young generation, for such a compulsory year in Germany,” he added.

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At the CDU’s party conference on 9 and 10 September in Hanover, there were to be two applications for a so-called “Germany Year”. While one aims more towards a mandatory year, the other pleads more for voluntariness in connection with incentives such as the crediting of pension points or relaxation of the numerus clausus. Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier recently received a lot of criticism for a push for mandatory socializing.

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The 66-year-old Merz now emphasized that the feedback from school classes and visiting groups in Berlin on the proposal for a mandatory time was “positive across the board. But I also know the arguments against it.” He was pleased that the federal president had been so clear on such a question. “Now we are discussing it. If there are other opinions, all the better. Then we have an interesting political debate.”

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Merz: Corona deprivation was cuts for young people, but must not be “benchmark”.

Merz rejected the argument that many young people had to cope with many cuts during the corona pandemic so that they would not be burdened with an extra compulsory year. He admitted the shutdowns were “a time of deprivation and loneliness” for many young people. With the closure of schools and universities, the target was probably exceeded. “Looking back, we have to say that the politicians made a lot of mistakes, especially with regard to the younger generation.” When it comes to conscription, we look at the next 10, 20, 30 years.”

With a view to the party’s controversial women’s quota, which is also to be decided in Hanover, Merz was convinced that the topic would not overshadow the party congress. The quota is rejected by the Junge Unionen (JU), especially in the business wing and by the younger generation of the party. To accommodate the opponents, Merz has proposed a time limit.

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Merz: The party congress will answer “fundamental questions”.

The CDU leader said he saw a lot of good will from the whole party to take a stand on this issue now and assess it realistically. “The quota debate is a party-political, internal issue in the CDU, which it must resolve. But it is certainly not the subject that most interests the majority of the population in Germany,” he stressed.

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In light of the upcoming secret vote among the 1,001 delegates on the quota, Merz said: “I am not afraid of a defeat, nor am I preparing for a victory to be celebrated.” It is about settling a fundamental question that has been simmering. for several years and for too long had remained unanswered.

“Collegial, friendly and very cooperative.”

CDU leader Friedrich Merz about his relationship with CSU leader Markus Söder

According to Merz, CSU head Markus Söder has been invited to Hannover for a greeting. “It goes without saying that the two party leaders have the opportunity to appear at each other’s party conferences at any time.” When asked how he would describe his relationship with Söder in one sentence, Merz said: “Collegial, friendly and very cooperative. “

Before the federal election last year, there was a serious rift between the then CDU chairman Armin Laschet and Söder over the Union’s candidacy for chancellor. Söder had lost the power struggle, Laschet on the other hand the federal election. Regarding the chancellor candidacy at the next federal election, Merz emphasized: “This issue is not on the table today. We will decide that when the time comes.”

RND/dpa

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