Corona sick Lindner and Union bashing: The FDP party congress
The Ukraine war dominates, it’s all about arms deliveries. The party leader Lindner, who is suffering from corona, speaks up from Washington: This is how the party conference of the FDP in Berlin is going.
In the debate about arms deliveries to Ukraine, FDP chairman Christian Lindner has backed Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) and sharply criticized the CDU/CSU opposition.
“The Chancellor has the confidence of the FDP and also of their parliamentary group in the German Bundestag,” said Lindner at the federal party conference in Berlin. Party Deputy Wolfgang Kubicki also attacked the SPD and blamed it for the international criticism of Germany’s hesitant attitude. The FDP leadership also defended the corona easing course, for which the liberals had to take a lot of criticism.
Djir-Sarai is the new FDP general secretary
The delegates elected the foreign politician Bijan Djir-Sarai as the new FDP general secretary. The 45-year-old proposed by Lindner received 89 percent of the votes. He succeeds Volker Wissing, who became digital and transport minister in the federal government. Michael Link was elected the new Federal Treasurer with 95 percent.
Lindner was connected digitally from Washington, where he is in quarantine due to a corona infection. According to the finance minister, the symptoms are only mild. His speech, which lasted around 40 minutes, was repeatedly interrupted by dropouts in the transmission.
Despite standing up for Scholz, Lindner also emphasized: “Ukraine needs military aid and heavy weapons.” Much more vehemently than he later demanded, Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the Bundestag Defense Committee. “Don’t procrastinate, don’t hesitate, that’s the order of the day,” she said to the delegates, who gave her standing applause.
Linder: Union plays “dangerous game”
FDP Vice Kubicki said to the SPD: “The image that many representatives of the largest governing party are presenting in front of the world public is not one that can satisfy us as a coalition partner.” The Bundestag Vice President warned: “We simply have no time to deal with the ideological ballast of the past.” Concrete and effective military aid for Ukraine is needed. “And some say that the decisive will to lead is currently missing.”
Lindner accused the Union of playing a “dangerous game” because of its intention to submit an application for the delivery of heavy weapons to Ukraine to the Bundestag in the coming week. “With a current initiative on arms deliveries, an attempt is obviously being made to get the governing coalition into trouble and thus to destabilize the government as a whole.” To put it bluntly: In times of war in Europe, I have absolutely no sympathy for this form of partisan political maneuvering.”
The CDU/CSU also made very tactical arguments about the planned EUR 100 billion special fund for the Bundeswehr. Union faction leader Friedrich Merz does not want to give the traffic light coalition any more votes than necessary for the necessary two-thirds majority to change the Basic Law. “What is that more than pure partisan tactics in a question of this historical dimension?”
It is a fundamental step, said Lindner. The Union must ask itself whether it is doing justice to its state-political responsibility with this approach. His appeal to the CDU and CSU was “to stop party-political gymnastics on questions of security in the Federal Republic of Germany and existential alliance issues and to take on state-political responsibility”.
Lindner: Ukraine will win the war
Lindner spoke out in favor of objectifying the discussion about the arms deliveries, arguing along the lines of a motion by the FDP federal executive: Germany must firstly act in unison with its allies, secondly, it must not jeopardize its own defense capability and its alliance obligations, and thirdly, it must do not become a party to the war yourself.
The FDP leader said Ukraine had been attacked by Russian President Vladimir Putin for making “value decisions towards Europe”. “In Ukraine, there is also a fight for the values that are important to us.” Therefore, Ukraine must win this war. “And Ukraine will win this war.”
Lindner warned of the economic consequences of the war. Germany must oppose “stagflation” – a weaker economy with increasing currency devaluation. A stagflation could very quickly turn into an even deeper crisis of stability.
Federal Minister of Justice Marco Buschmann defended the FDP’s Corona course. The changes to the Infection Protection Act were correct. Today we know: “It was responsible to take these steps.” This can be seen in the number of infections and the situation in the hospitals and in the intensive care units. “If it is responsible to give the citizens more freedom, then it is simply necessary,” emphasized Buschmann. Because freedom is not a gift from politics, it belongs to the citizens.
Group leader Christian Dürr said that now that the new infection protection law has been in effect for a good four weeks and the return to normality has become a reality, one has to take stock: “The FDP is working in the traffic light. Without the Free Democrats, this return would not have happened in Germany. We make the difference.” The everyday life of people in April 2022 would “definitely look different” without the FDP.