Updated: Feb 2
By Jack Turner
This week saw the CSU elect their new party leader Markus Söder. Running unchallenged, Söder, who is also the Minister President of Bavaria, was elected with 87% of the vote, which he described as an “honest result”. This marked a changing of the guard, as Söder’s election officially brings an end to Horst Seehofer’s decade in charge of the CSU, after he stepped down under pressure following poor state election results. Söder’s first major task is to unite the somewhat fractured relations with Kramp-Karrenbauer’s CDU before turning his eye to the upcoming European Elections. For an in-depth look at how he intends to modernise the CSU and make her “younger, more feminine and hipper”, see here.
On Saturday over 35,000 consumers and small-scale farmers came to Berlin to demonstrate for climate-friendly agriculture. Their protest march, which included a train of 170 tractors, called for a change in in agricultural policy in the face of increased industrial farming, its subsidy policy, and its continued outdated approach to piglet castration. For a thought-provoking piece on the cost of Germany’s current approach to cheap food, see here.
They were not alone in their protests, as more than 30,000 students across 50 different cities took to the streets during school-time to demonstrate for more protection from climate change. Some notable banners were emblazoned with such slogans as: "Why learn without a future?" and "Grandpa, what is a snowman?".
Finally, the Bundestag has voted to change the status of Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco and Georgia to ‘safe states’ for refugees to return to, to speed up deportations. As the acceptance rate is below 5% for these countries, Seehofer claimed: "we can devote more time, concentration and more energy to deal with applications from people truly needing protection and integrate them into our society". Die Grüne strongly reject the proposal, however, so although it has passed through the Bundestag, it is highly likely it will be dismissed at the Bundesrat in the coming month.
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