Search

 

Cablegate: Pilot Project Hamburg: Cdu and Greens Form First State

VZCZCXRO1909
PP RUEHAST RUEHDA RUEHDF RUEHFL RUEHIK RUEHKW RUEHLA RUEHLN RUEHLZ
RUEHPOD RUEHROV RUEHSR RUEHVK RUEHYG
DE RUEHAG #0014/01 1091416
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 181416Z APR 08
FM AMCONSUL HAMBURG
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0230
INFO RUEHRL/AMEMBASSY BERLIN PRIORITY 0209
RUCNFRG/FRG COLLECTIVE
RUEHZL/EUROPEAN POLITICAL COLLECTIVE
RUEHAG/AMCONSUL HAMBURG 0251

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 HAMBURG 000014

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT FOR EUR/AGS
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREL GM
SUBJECT: PILOT PROJECT HAMBURG: CDU AND GREENS FORM FIRST STATE
COALITION

REF: A. A) HAMBURG 007
B. B) HAMBURG 005
C. C) BERLIN 0137

HAMBURG 00000014 001.2 OF 002


1. (SBU) Summary: The signing of the first coalition agreement
between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Greens
(GAL) on the state level in Hamburg April 17 bridged a wide
political divide between these one-time enemy parties. The
65-page agreement displayed unity on several issues, but the
main point of contention between the two parties - the
construction of a coal power plant - remained open. While both
parties had national support for the coalition negotiations,
national party leaders, including Chancellor Angela Merkel
(CDU), remain convinced that a federal black-green (CDU-Greens)
coalition is "rather unlikely" due to major differences between
the two parties on defense, domestic security, and immigration
issues among others. Nevertheless, if the Hamburg black-green
coalition is successful in implementing innovative solutions to
current political and environmental challenges, it may open up
coalition options at both the state and national level in this
new five-party system. The Greens and CDU state parties will
submit the agreement for state party approval at their party
conventions April 27 and April 28 respectively. Both parties
expect their membership to easily endorse the agreement.
Current CDU Mayor/Minister President Ole von Beust is expected
to be re-elected by the state parliament on May 7. End Summary.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
----------
PERSONALITIES KEY TO NEGOTIATION SUCCESS
--------------------------------------------- --------------
----------

2. (SBU) Having lost its absolute majority in Hamburg's February
24 state elections, the CDU was left with the task of building a
coalition government (Ref A). Following preliminary discussions
with both the SPD and Greens, Mayor Ole von Beust (CDU) and CDU
Party Chairman Michael Freytag decided to negotiate exclusively
with the Greens. (Note: The CDU's traditional coalition
partner, liberal Free Democratic Party [FDP], did not overcome
the five percent hurdle to enter the state parliament in the
elections. End Note.) Despite long hours of meetings over the
last several weeks, both sides remarked that the negotiations
were extremely open, collegial and matter-of-fact. It appears
that the success of the meetings can be attributed in great part
to the personalities of von Beust and Green party State Caucus
Leader Christa Goetsch and State Party Chair and Federal
Parliament Member Anja Hajduk. (Note: Von Beust has displayed a
great deal of political flexibility in his career. He became
mayor of Hamburg through coalition agreements with the
rightist-populist Schill Party in 2001. End Note.) This mutual
respect and objective approach to reaching political goals will
continue to be necessary for the city-state of Hamburg to handle
upcoming challenges, such as ensuring energy supplies, keeping
shipping-lanes open in its growing container port, and reforming
a suffering school system.

--------------------------------------------- ---------------
ENERGY, EDUCATION AND ENVIRONMENT
--------------------------------------------- ----------------

3. (SBU) In order to reach agreement both parties had to concede
political goals. The three main issues of contention were
school reform, dredging of the Elbe River, and the construction
of a brown coal power plant. Despite calling for
further-reaching reforms the Greens were able to implement a new
system of six-years of combined primary school. Goetsch, a
former teacher, will be Hamburg's next minister of education.
The CDU was successful in ensuring that the Elbe River could be
further dredged in order to accommodate the next generation of
container ships although CDU Lower Saxony MP Wulff has expressed
opposition to this plan. In return, the Greens were able to
secure agreement that this would be the last deepening of the
river and to create a government-funded endowment for ecological
protection of the Elbe watershed. Finally, the two parties
agreed to defer the issue of the construction of the Moorburg
coal power plant to the environment and city-planning ministry,
under the new leadership of Greens State Party Chair Hajduk.
Hajduk will decide whether to issue the remaining permits to
Vattenfall, which has already begun construction on the plant
and filed suit against Hamburg on April 14 for failing to issue
the final water and emissions authorizations. Parallel, the
city will open up operation of its district long-distance
heating system and the possible future construction of a gas
power plant to European-wide competition.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
------------------------------
NATIONAL BLACK-GREEN COALITION "HIGHLY UNREALISTIC"
--------------------------------------------- --------------

HAMBURG 00000014 002.2 OF 002


-------------------------------

4. (SBU) Experts are split on the viability of the new
black-green state-level coalition, with some saying this
historical agreement opens up new options for political parties
and pulls them away from their ideological positions and others
indicating that the agreement is unique to Hamburg.
Representatives of both parties are quick to point out that
Hamburg does not serve as a model for future CDU/Greens
coalitions on the state, and, in particular, the federal level.
They stress the major policy differences between the CDU and the
Greens to underscore the incompatibility of positions. In a
discussion with Hamburg Pol/Econ officer prior to the elections,
Hajduk stated that speculation about a CDU/Greens coalition was
"highly unrealistic" and "difficult to conceive" due to
important local policy differences between the two parties on
environmental and education matters, and a Greens party base
traditionally more left-leaning than average (Ref. B). As
realistic as some claims of policy divisions on national level
continue to be (e.g. security policy), successful coalition
negotiations in Hamburg clearly underscore the willingness of
both parties to bridge fundamental divisions and find common
ground. On April 17, designated Greens front-runner for the
2009 Bundestag elections J|rgen Trittin stated, "We are in a
situation, in which red-green majorities are a distant prospect
due to the blatant weakness of the SPD." Trittin pointed out
that content mattered most and added that he can imagine a
"black-green" coalition with Angela Merkel as chancellor.

--------------------------------------------- --------------
-------
COMMENT: RISK OR ADVANTAGE; PROSPECTS
--------------------------------------------- --------------
-------

5. (SBU) Comment: The de-facto opening up of a new coalition
option, as un-replicable as it might seem in other states and at
the federal level, is advantageous for both parties: the CDU has
a potential option beyond grand or CDU - FDP coalitions, and the
Greens can liberate themselves from the strong hold of the SPD.
Even if the Hamburg solution were to remain the only black-green
coalition for the time being, both parties could pressure their
traditional coalition partners by pointing to Hamburg as a
potential alternative, particularly if the Hamburg coalition is
successful in governing the city-state. In negotiating with the
opposition, both the CDU and Greens risked ostracizing
traditional party membership. They appear to have overcome this
obstacle through transparency within their membership and a
practical approach to political problems. However, this
equation might only hold true as long as the SPD refrains from
forming "red-green-red" coalitions with the Left Party and the
Greens. End Comment.

6. (U) This cable has been coordinated with Embassy Berlin.
JOHNSON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>

ALSO:

Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>

ALSO:

Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>

ALSO: