Hamburg Greens open to coalition with CDU
The majority of Green Party members in Hamburg have decided they are willing to move forward with the possible creation of a coalition with the Christian Democrats.
The environmentalist Greens in the northern German port city have cleared the way for talks with the conservative Christian Democrats (CDU) about creating what would be the first-ever coalition between the two parties in Germany.
After party debate on Thursday evening, the majority of Green Party leaders decided to accept a CDU invitation to discuss a new "black-green" coalition.
"If we don't position ourselves, it will be a sign of weakness," said Hamburg's Green party chief Anja Hajduk at the meeting.
Party members stressed that they won't allow the possible coalition to put a price on key Green positions on the environment, education, and social welfare -- topics on which they will likely be at odds with the more conservative CDU.
Some critics have warned Green party members that a coalition would be disadvantageous, saying the party would only be an "ornamental fig leaf on a black background.
The two parties are only considering the partnership because Hamburg's election on Sunday yielded a victory for Angela Merkel's conservative Christian CDU, but the party lost its parliamentary majority. Meanwhile the CDU's traditional coalition partner, the pro-business Free Democratic Party (FDP), didn't win enough votes to earn any parliamentary seats.
The Greens have plans for another meeting on the Thursday after the "black-green" meeting for further discussion of the coalition.
After the meeting Greens delegate Farid Müller said the CDU will have to make a generous offer. "Just a few nice nuggets won't do," he said. Otherwise the Greens won't be able to reach a consensus on creating the coalition.