Markus Söder and Winfried Kretschmann have come closer to each other in the past half year, it is said. In the summer, the Baden-Württemberg Minister President of the Greens offered his CSU counterpart from Bavaria even the du.
The so-called southern rail, formerly a Unionstangente between Munich and Stuttgart, now runs between black and green. On the other hand, initially there is nothing to say that the interests of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg lie in close proximity to one another in many fields - and together, even the two economically strong territorial states are stronger than either.
Only: times have changed. Germany in 2019 has become a land of egotisms, the cohesion within society is crumbling. The reasons for this are diverse. Politicians, started by the Federal President, never tire of addressing it. And on the practical level, in some places, there is the insight that federalism is not up for grabs, but in some places it is loosened up: in the interest of all who live in Germany.
For many years Baden-Württemberg's prime minister has spoken so forcefully about the cohesion in society that one's heart warms. Even a state councilor for civil society and civic participation, Kretschmann has taken to the government headquarters. His Bavarian colleague discovered the issue only in the recent past, after the CSU politician had almost split the Union parties and almost spoiled the election with right-wing populist rhetoric. But in the meantime, Söder also has a lot to do with each other instead of against each other. At his welcome speech at the CDU party conference in Leipzig, Söder talked about the Union's responsibility for cohesion and values.
Only: When it matters, Söder and Kretschmann continue to act as if the Federal Republic ended at their borders. Bavaria first, Baden-Württemberg first, southern rail first.
Subject education, in Germany country thing: Already in the coalition agreement Union (including the CSU) and SPD agreed a so-called National Education Council, for example, to improve the comparability of the Abitur. The Greens have been calling for that for a long time. With great applause, CDU leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer spoke at the party congress for more cooperation and cooperation between the countries on the subject of education.
Söder and Kretschmann say: Not with us. Bavaria and Baden-Wuerttemberg want to get out of the National Education Council, because they fear a loss of quality, given the high standards of their own, if they meet the other countries.
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And also in the reorganization of the summer celebrations times, the two cross: they want that the students in southern Germany continue to have free at the end of the summer. End of the discussion.
The two prime ministers are aware of their power, especially in the package: Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg are by far the largest donor countries in the federal financial equalization. But can that really be crucial in these times, as one dwells on the behavior of US President Donald Trump, who, from the position of the rest of the world, imposes his "cut-or-dow" policy?
Of course, Prime Ministers Söder and Kretschmann must first represent the interests of their countries. Alone, to be re-elected. But they also know that Germany is more than Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg - and they should play their role model role in society.
That would be a real commitment to cohesion.