“We are following an independent path and looking to see with whom we could best implement green policies,” he told the Hamburger Abendblatt newspaper in an interview published Saturday.
“The intersection with the (centre-left Social Democratic Party) SPD is of course greater. However we have always said that, depending on the situation at the time, we would also talk with the CDU,” said Özdemir, who is joint party leader with Claudia Roth.
He insisted, however, that despite the Merkel’s decision to phase out nuclear power by 2022 there was much that still divided the two parties.
In the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear accident in Japan and the spectacular win for the Greens in the CDU stronghold of Baden-Württemberg, Merkel implemented a U-turn in her government’s nuclear policy just months after pushing through an extension of the lifespan of the country’s nuclear power plants.
Özdemir praised the government’s new energy policy as a “signal that goes far beyond Germany.”
“If we make it clear that it’s possible to increase prosperity without nuclear power and at the same time protect the environment, then that can act as a magnet for the entire world,” the Green leader said.
Merkel’s junior partners in the current government, the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), have seen their vote slide considerably and may not have enough seats to be viable coalition partners for the Christian Democrats after the next election.
Özdemir, meanwhile, ruled himself out of being his party’s candidate for chancellor, a role which would traditionally see the candidate become foreign minister if the Greens were to be the junior party in any coalition. “I don’t see myself in this role,” he told the paper.
He said the issue of who would lead the party into the next election had not come up yet. “We have to remain focused,” he warned. “Governing after the CDU-FDP won’t be a walk in the park. We have to use the time until the election to have our policies well prepared. ”