Photo: MICHAEL KAPPELER / AFP
In the fight for the CDU chairmanship, the three applicants faced questions from the party youth on Saturday evening.
Armin Laschet, Friedrich Merz and Norbert Röttgen have been invited to Berlin by the Junge Union (JU).
The candidates initially presented themselves there with five-minute speeches, members were connected via video conference and were allowed to ask questions.
Above all, the applicants tried to respond to longstanding demands from the youth of the party.
So Friedrich Merz spoke out in favor of a new generation contract.
The country should no longer live at the expense of the younger generation, said the former Union parliamentary group leader.
Under his aegis, no more decisions would be made that shift the costs into the future and burden them with the younger generation.
In terms of economic and financial policy, Germany must come out of the Corona crisis, not against, but with ecological innovations.
To this end, he is aiming for a technology and start-up offensive.
The country has become too slow and "too sluggish," said Merz.
Röttgen wants "more female, younger, more digital" CDU
The foreign politician Norbert Röttgen, however, spoke primarily for a renewal of the party.
The CDU must become more feminine, younger, more digital and more interesting, said Röttgen.
The party also needs credibility in terms of climate policy.
There will be further dramatic changes in the twenties that shake the country, said Röttgen and spoke of a "break in an era".
But Germany is not adequately prepared for it.
In the corona pandemic, Germany's weaknesses also became visible, said Röttgen.
In terms of digitization, Germany is lagging behind 10 to 20 years.
"WLAN at every school is a pious wish."
What is needed is a pact with the goal of Germany catching up with digitization by 2025.
Laschet: "We have already implemented"
NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet presented himself to the party youth as a "doer" with broad experience as a head of government who has already implemented a number of these plans.
Many of the current demands of the Junge Union (JU) for more climate protection, digitization or intergenerational equity have already been processed by his state government or are being addressed, said Laschet.
In his cabinet, for example, representatives of the middle class are represented as well as employee representatives, women and the young generation, said Laschet, who was allowed to speak as the first of the three candidates after a draw.
This diversity must finally be visible in the federal party.
The members of the youth organization can now vote for two weeks which applicant they would like to see in the chief position.
According to previous plans, the new CDU chairman will be elected at a party congress with 1001 delegates on December 5 in Stuttgart.
It remains to be seen whether this plan can be maintained in view of the rapidly increasing number of corona infections.
The debate was preceded by a sensational poll.
According to this, Federal Minister of Health Jens Spahn would have the best cards among the citizens of Germany as CDU chairman.
In a survey by the Kantar Institute for the Funke media group, 22 percent said they were most likely to trust Spahn to become a good CDU leader.
However, the 40-year-old does not even apply for the party chairmanship, but instead competes in a team with NRW Prime Minister Armin Laschet - if Laschet wins, Spahn will be deputy party leader.
Icon: The mirror
rai / dpa