CDU and CSU: Söder and Merz in “Groundhog Day”


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From: Mike Schier

Suddenly best friends: Markus Söder and Friedrich Merz – or not? © Chris Emil Janssen/imago

The Union sister parties are more harmonious than they have been for a long time, but controversial issues lie dormant beneath the surface. Markus Söder and Friedrich Merz have not come closer either.

Munich/Berlin – The press conference is already coming to an end when a journalist gets to the heart of the situation. She feels a little like “groundhog day,” she says: CSU leader Markus Söder is constantly on stage with a new CDU leader. Great harmony is always sung. But then it doesn’t end well.

The new CDU chairman this time is Friedrich Merz. His difficult relationship with Markus Söder, who was by no means enthusiastic about the 66-year-old’s candidacy, has been sufficiently described. Now, when Merz visits the retreat of the CSU state group in Berlin, the two chairmen of the sister parties outdo each other in expressions of sympathy. Merz even goes so far as to claim that the joint faction made up of two parties is “an ingenious construction”. A lot of people saw things differently last year. One remembers the online membership of the CSU in the CDU area.

CDU and CSU strive for unity – but in Russia there is a quarrel

Since the beginning of the year, when Söder and Merz posed at Kirchsee near Bad Tölz, the sister parties have been trying to be united. Difficult topics – they still exist – you try to smile away. For example Russia. Merz is a committed transatlantic. Söder actually too, but comes from a CSU that has always had the best contacts with Moscow since Strauss and Stoiber.

Two weeks ago, Söder said in the DOES-Interview: “Constantly new threats and ever tougher sanctions against Russia alone cannot be the solution.” In the meantime, he says: “Everything belongs on the table.” Söder does not want to see a change of heart there. Merz now says: “Russia is a European country.” He does not perceive Söder’s attitude “at all as a contradiction”. At best, there are “different nuances”. In any case, the two agree that the federal government paints a bad picture.

How united is the Union? The obligation to vaccinate could split the sister parties

It will also be exciting to see how unity in the Union regarding Corona develops – even within the CSU. Söder has been loudly insisting on compulsory vaccination for weeks, his regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt is strikingly quieter. Merz also recently favored a staggered compulsory vaccination from the age of 50 – and only from the next wave.

There is more agreement between Söder and Merz about easing the corona measures. Söder had called for a phased plan. Merz also said yesterday that one must now “give a bit of confidence, a bit of hope for normality”. For example, fans should be allowed back into football stadiums, at least in part. “People have to get out again.”

Corona: When it comes to easing, the Union pulls together – almost

The new CDU leader will still have to campaign for this with his Prime Minister. Hendrik Wüst (North Rhine-Westphalia) had ruled out any loosening just the day before. “Of course, that can only be possible once the peak of the omicron wave has passed, when we can be sure that there is no risk of the healthcare system being overloaded.”

On February 16, the prime ministers want to consult again. About a common line. Oh well. Another groundhog day. (what)


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