North Rhine-Westphalia: CDU and Greens agree on key points for a possible coalition

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the CDU and the Greens are on course for a possible coalition.

North Rhine-Westphalia: CDU and Greens agree on key points for a possible coalition

In North Rhine-Westphalia, the CDU and the Greens are on course for a possible coalition. For days, delegations worked on principles for a joint government. The result is a detailed paper that reads like a mini coalition agreement.

Düsseldorf (dpa/lnw) - At least 1000 new wind turbines, less land use and the same pay for teachers: Almost two weeks after the state elections in North Rhine-Westphalia, the CDU and Greens have agreed on detailed key points for a possible government alliance. At the end of their four-day exploratory talks, delegations from both parties agreed on a twelve-page result paper entitled "For the future of North Rhine-Westphalia".

On the basis of the exploratory paper, the top committees of the CDU and Greens are to decide on the official start of coalition negotiations on Sunday. So far, the CDU and the Greens have never governed together in the most populous federal state.

Prime Minister Hendrik Wüst (CDU) and Greens top candidate Mona Neubaur were satisfied. "The strength for our future lies in the reconciliation of supposed opposites," explained Wüst. He thanked the Greens for "constructive, serious advice appropriate to the challenges" and added: "This common spirit can lead to a future alliance for the benefit of our country."

Green Party leader Neubaur said: "We want to be the guarantor that a new state government works with the times." The CDU and the Greens have developed a "resilient basis". "Both parties are united by the serious will to find generation-fair solutions for the challenges of the present and future in times of multiple crises." Criticism of the paper, on the other hand, came from environmentalists and conservationists.

Around 100 delegates from the Greens are coming together in Essen on Sunday for a small party conference to vote on the start of coalition negotiations. In Düsseldorf, the similarly sized extended state executive committee of the CDU will decide on this. The Greens state executive recommended that its members agree to the start of coalition negotiations. The CDU will also recommend this to the extended state board, it said.

The CDU clearly won the election on May 15 with 35.7 percent. The Greens were able to almost triple their share of the vote compared to 2017 to 18.2 percent and ended up in third place behind the SPD (26.7 percent).

The details of the sounding paper:

CLIMATE PROTECTION: CDU and Greens are committed to a climate-neutral industrial country. "We will make North Rhine-Westphalia the first climate-neutral industrial region in Europe." The parties want to set up an "immediate climate protection program" and an early phase-out of coal by 2030. With a "timely" new key decision, the people in the lignite mining area should get clarity. Five villages threatened by resettlement are to be preserved.

Criticism comes from the Federation for Environmental Protection and Nature Conservation (BUND) in North Rhine-Westphalia. The association misses a guarantee of existence for the threatened villages, the formulations in the paper are vague. There is also no specific date for the desired climate neutrality. BUND complains that the Greens have apparently given up important positions.

According to the paper, the CDU and the Greens want to build at least 1,000 additional wind turbines over the next five years and use all areas suitable for photovoltaics.

Both parties are aiming for the abolition of the blanket 1000 meter distance rule between wind turbines and residential buildings, which the Greens have long been calling for. For the accelerated expansion of wind power, "we will fundamentally review all relevant legal regulations and change them if necessary," the paper says. However, the probers did not name a specific point in time for the change in the regulation.

SCHOOL: 10,000 additional teachers are to be hired in the coming years. With a binding step-by-step plan, the starting salary for all teachers is also to be raised to A13. So far, teachers at primary, secondary, secondary and comprehensive schools in NRW have been paid less than teachers at the upper secondary level.

INTERNAL SECURITY: 3,000 police forces are to be hired annually instead of the previous 2,500. The CDU had demanded this. The position of an independent police officer is to be set up in the state parliament - a proposal by the Greens. In addition, the assembly law criticized by the Greens is to be independently and scientifically examined at the end of 2023.

TRANSPORT: If possible, a nationwide express bus network should be created before the end of this election period. By 2027, 1000 kilometers of new cycle paths are to be built. When it comes to road construction, rehabilitation should be given priority over new construction. The Greens had campaigned for this.

ENVIRONMENT: The CDU and the Greens have set themselves the goal of reducing land consumption to five hectares per day "promptly" and further in the future.

CHILDREN: A "pact against child poverty" is to be forged together with local authorities and independent organizations.

MIGRATION: CDU and Greens want to attract more foreign skilled workers. This includes unbureaucratic and rapid recognition of foreign professional and educational qualifications. Permanent residence and access to the labor market should be made possible for well-integrated refugees.

MUNICIPALITIES: Before the end of this year, the CDU and the Greens want to agree on a solution with the federal government to reduce old municipal debt. "Should the federal government not fulfill its responsibility in this area, we are committed to bringing about a solution ourselves in the coming year."

LIVING: The two parties rely on public and rent-based housing promotion as well as on the promotion of property. In addition, the establishment of municipal housing associations is to be supported.

FINANCES: The debt brake should be adhered to and at the same time investments should be made in education, infrastructure, social cohesion, climate protection and climate change adaptation.

VOTING RIGHTS: At state level, active voting rights are to be introduced from the age of 16.

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