Germany Day of the JU: At Merz, the air is out

Germany Day of the JU
At Merz, the air is out

From Philipp Sandmann

Friedrich Merz was once considered a savior for the CDU. The Junge Union’s Germany Day shows that these times are over. The party offspring has had enough of “old brushes”.

There are sayings that get stuck. But that doesn’t mean that the saying is necessarily good. Friedrich Merz delivered such a sentence at the Junge Union’s Germany Day: “Young brooms sweep well, but the old brush knows the corners.” The interesting thing: a few years ago, even such a hackneyed saying would have caused ecstasy. This time it is more likely to cause confusion and incomprehension.

It’s true: Friedrich Merz was once considered the CDU’s sole savior when he started his comeback in 2018 after many years of abstinence from politics. The experienced, wise, rhetorically gifted politician who can catapult the CDU back into the “good old days”: that’s what many in the Union thought.

Even the youngsters of the party saw the future in Friedrich Merz until recently. The Junge Union stood behind Merz – not behind the younger candidates Laschet and Röttgen – when it came to the CDU chairmanship at the beginning of the year. That the Junge Union endorsed Merz seems a paradox, but Merz had a certain aura for a long time. At the CDU regional conferences in 2018, he announced that the AfD could be cut in half and that the Union could again achieve results above 40 percent. That got stuck.

And Merz obviously hopes that this aura will last a little longer. But that will be difficult. At the JU Germany Day, Merz spoke in his speech about the Cologne muezzin debate and the political stance of journalists from public broadcasting, and he described his party as a “serious restructuring case”. But this time there was no spark at all between Merz and the party offspring.

During the speech in the back of the room people prefer to drink beer and not listen to the former political star. Merz notices this, even mentions it and then recommends to the youngsters: better in the future 70 percent work and only 30 percent party.

And to top it all, a JU member from Bavaria asks a provocative question: Merz can describe problems wonderfully, but he doesn’t name any solutions either. Merz’s current situation could not have been summed up more clearly.

At the end there are still a few “cool” sneakers for Friedrich Merz, then the 65-year-old is said goodbye. The applause: very restrained. In an interview with ntv, JU boss Tilman Kuban said: Merz could certainly act as an “advisor and supporter” when it comes to the future. However, this is not a really clear commitment to Merz. The youngsters of the party understood: this time, renewal will only be possible with really young minds. And at Merz somehow the air is out.

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